Animal Facilitated Therapy

Man with Therapy DogsAnimal Facilitated Therapy (AFT) has been an exciting part of Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital since 1985.  Our therapy dogs are trained to an advanced level of obedience and retrieving. They use their specialized skills along with a trainer and therapist to help patients achieve various rehabilitation goals.

Some examples are: maintaining balance by walking with a dog (PT); increasing arm function by grooming or patting a dog (OT); improving communication by giving a dog commands (ST) and developing leisure activities by playing with a dog (TR).

Our AFT program has become a well-known and popular feature of the hospital and a model for programs across the nation and internationally.

Our program includes four unique components:

  • The use of specially trained rehabilitation dogs in physical, occupational, speech and therapeutic recreation therapy sessions
  • A group of dedicated volunteers who are taught how to visit patients with their own therapy dogs
  • An animal care specialist available to provide pet care consultations that help patients care for their pets at home
  • A pet visitation policy allows patients’ own pets to visit them while they are in the hospital