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About Us

Happy Tails volunteer teams provide physical, social, emotional, and cognitive therapy to people of all ages. Our teams visit hospitals, assisted living, schools and behavioral facilities in the metro Atlanta area. 

Scottish Rite Hospital Golden Retriever and Terrier on a visit with children
Our Services

Animal-Assisted Activity (AAA)

Our most popular and most common form of therapy interaction. Our members and their pets visit hospitals, nursing homes, behavioral facilities, and rehabilitation centers.
 
The visits are informal and help people who are away from home due to mental illness, physical illness or court order. A visit from a dog or cat can brighten the day and motivate them in their therapy or treatment. pets.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)

Pets are used in conjunction with physical and occupational therapy sessions. They are paired with a client and a professional healthcare or human services professional who has a goal sheet for each visit.

Tasks a pet can help achieve include gaining motion in limbs and fine motor control.

READing
Paws Visits

Nationally registered pet and owner therapy teams volunteer at schools and libraries as reading companions for children. This allows children to practice their reading skills in a safe space free of judgment and criticism.

Our teams give companionship, conversation, stimulation, sensory gratification and comfort to the patients, caretakers and family members.


Regular team visits can be arranged on weekdays, weeknights or weekends, seven days a week. We also provide reoccurring quarterly or one-time special visits upon request and based on availability.
 

There is no charge to receive the services provided by Happy Tails volunteers. 
Doodle pet therapy petting
Our Impact

Cognitive Skills

On a visit, a volunteer may start a conversation by asking, “Have you ever owned a pet?” When patients talk about pets they used to own, remember information about the therapy animal, or talk about animals in general, they are developing cognitive and knowledge skills.

Memory

Asking the patient to recall information about a pet, or asking a patient to give a sequence of cues to a dog, can exercise memory skills.

Motor Skills

Walking a dog, playing fetch, reaching to touch a cat, or bending to pet your rabbit all increase gross motor skills. Animal-assisted therapy can help with a variety of physical, occupational, and speech therapy goals. For increased upper extremity range of motion, the patient can throw an object for your dog to retrieve, use hand signals to cue your dog, use a leash to maneuver him, and pat, stroke, or brush your pet.

Stress Relief

Interacting with a well-behaved and well-trained therapy animal has been clinically proven to release calmin endorphins in the brain, which causes an automatic relaxation response. This is believed to even reduce the amount of medication that some patients need to withstand physical pain.

Speech & Communication

Calling a dog, giving cues, and talking about a pet helps to work vocal volume, breath support, increase vocal clarity and language production.
 
Encouraging a patient to describe objects or formulate short phrases to practice verbal expression and require the patient to focus attention on a pet, the task, and the therapist.

Balance & Coordination 

Work on balance by petting an animal or throwing an object for a dog to retrieve in various positions.
 
For mobility, the patient can walk or use their wheelchair with a volunteer and their dog. Reaching for a toy or brushing a pet strengthens coordination.

Mental Health

Smiles and conversation may be a major step in the battle against depression, may aid to increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety and loneliness. Patients whose emotional pain has isolated them from others may joyfully join in a group conversation about their own beloved animals as they interact with a therapy animal.

Heart Health

The calming effect of animal-assisted therapy can reduce blood pressure, which promotes cardiovascular health without the use of additional medication.
Board of Directors

Happy Tails Pet Therapy Board of Directors and Committee Chairs are all volunteer based roles. We dedicate our time to growing and supporting our members and partner facilities. 

Happy Tails Support Team

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