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Animal-Assisted Crisis Response

Room B

1 CE Hour

Presented By

  • -
    In-Person, Live Webinar



Therapy dogs are being utilized more and more in various settings and for a variety of interactions and responses. However, not all therapy dogs have the ability to effectively provide intervention following crises and disasters. It is essential that uncertified dogs and their handlers are not providing services or being asked to respond in ways that could potentially impact their welfare or result in injury or harm to those being served. Crises and disasters are often unpredictable and involve large crowds, loud noises and extreme emotions (Grodin, 2020). Crisis coordinators and therapy dog handlers must understand the special skills and abilities of trained animal-assisted crisis response (AACR) teams (Eaton-Stull et al., 2023).


This presentation will provide attendees with an overview of AACR, outlining the differences between regular therapy dog visits and crisis response deployments (Eaton-Stull & Flynn, 2015). National standards for evaluation and training will be shared as well as a discussion of the importance of canine and handler welfare in disaster response. HOPE AACR, the largest and first AACR group in the U.S., is the only AACR organization that is a national member of National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD). Attendees will meet some of these highly trained and evaluated crisis dogs. Case examples from mass shootings, sudden death and natural disasters will be reviewed and discussed.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the differences between animal-assisted activities or animal-assisted therapy and animal assisted crisis response.

  • Explain the evaluative considerations for certified therapy dog aptitude, fit and welfare for animal-assisted crisis response.

  • Share case examples and strategies for interventions during crisis and disaster utilizing animal-assisted crisis response.

CE Policy
This course is fiscally sponsored by International Association of Veterinary Social Work. There may be potential biases or conflicts of interest inherent to this relationship, and it must be disclosed to participants. These conflicts of interest have no bearing on the course content and have been resolved.
Brian Flynn
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