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Tails of Joy Animal Assisted Therapy
Upcoming Events

Providing Therapeutic Benefit to People
Through the Use of Animals

Tails of Joy members volunteer throughout Hartford, Tolland and Windham counties and neighboring towns in Connecticut.

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What is Animal Assisted Activity?
AAA is the casual “meet-and-greet” activity that involves pets visiting people. The same activity can be repeated with many people, unlike a therapy program that is tailored to a particular person or medical condition.
What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. Goals can by physical, educational, motivational or mental health oriented. In addition to goals, AAT programs measure the individual’s progress.
Can I take my dog to an extended care facility without being registered?
You can, but that is not advisable. You and your dog should be evaluated by a trained evaluator. Registration also eliminates the risk of not having the proper insurance.
Why should my pet and I be evaluated and registered?
National organizations set standards for AAA and AAT and help ensure that visiting teams have the skills and aptitude to make a good team. Once registered, you and your pet are covered by a liability insurance policy while volunteering. 
Does the age of the animal matter?
Yes it does, an animal must be at least one year of age to begin providing therapy. Animals younger than one year of age should be enrolled in a training program. 
Does the animal have to be spayed / neutered?
No, an animal does not need to be spayed or neutered to provide Animal Assisted Therapy. 
Does my animal have to have all its vaccinations to provide AAA or AAT?
Registration requires that each animal must be up to date with rabies vaccination and any other state required vaccine. Individual facilities may have their own requirements. 
How do I know if my animal is suited for therapy work?

You and your pet should have an interest in people and enjoy visiting. Your pet should be healthy, have at least a basic level of training and be reliable, even in crowded or unexpected situations.

Some essentials:
Animal likes being petted, touched and hugged
Animal demonstrates reliable, controllable, predictable behavior
Animal actively solicits interactions with people
Animal is able to remain calm in disruptive settings
Animal is outgoing, friendly and confident in new settings

If your animal is unpredictable, doesn’t like being around people, or is aggressive to people or other animals it would not be suitable for therapy work.

Can I get paid for providing AAA or AAT?
No, Tails of Joy is a volunteer organization. Members donate their time to bring happiness to others. Any expenses you incur providing therapy, including mileage, uniform, and extra expenses for grooming, may be tax deductible. 
What is the difference between service, therapy, and emotional support animals?
Service animals are legally defined by the American's with Disabilities Act (1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals wit disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places.

Federal law does not legally define therapy animals, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. Therapy animals provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilities. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accommodation that have "no pets" policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals. 

Emotional Support animals have no legal definition. A medical professional has determined that this animal provides benefit for an individual with a disability. This may include improving at least one symptom of the disability. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by emotional support animals in places of public accommodation that have "no pets" policies. 
How much does Tails of Joy charge for visits?
Tails of Joy members volunteer their time and do not charge for any pet therapy visit.