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What is Animal-assisted Crisis Response?

Yvonne Eaton-Stull, DSW, MSW, LCSW

April 30, 2021

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Question

What is animal-assisted crisis response?

 

 

Answer

Animal-assisted crisis response is a type of animal-assisted intervention. I like to call these the PhDs of therapy dogs. For crisis response work, there are very few organizations that specialize in providing dogs to be able to intervene after a crisis or a disaster. Dogs in these organizations have to have been a therapy dog for at least a year and preferably worked with different populations and different settings before they are evaluated to see if they can become a crisis response dog. 

These dogs are extensively evaluated and trained. They undergo initial training and continuing education. In animal-assisted crisis response, these dog and handler teams go and respond to various crises/disasters, natural or human-made, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and mass shootings.

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the webinar, Animal-Assisted Interventions to Enhance Social Work Practice, presented by Yvonne Eaton-Stull, DSW, MSW, LCSW.


yvonne eaton stull

Yvonne Eaton-Stull, DSW, MSW, LCSW

Dr. Yvonne Eaton-Stull is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Program Director of the BSSW Program at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. Dr. Eaton-Stull is a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in animal-assisted social work, crisis intervention, and forensic social work.  She has two therapy dogs and actively provides animal-assisted interventions in many human service agencies.  She is a canine handler with HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response where she has provided comfort and support following crises and disasters throughout the United States for over 15 years.  Her recent research has included implementing animal-assisted interventions in state prisons to address stress and anxiety, self-harm, and grief and loss.  


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