By Pet Therapy Advisers Contributor, Federica Aste,
….With the approval of the guidelines for animal assisted interventions (IAA) during a recent conference between the Italian State and its Regions, Italy is reported to be the first country in the world to have established a standard norm regarding therapy dog intervention.
These guidelines were presented and discussed during the Italian National Conference held in Rome on September 24, 2015 at the headquarters of the Ministry of Health.
More than 200 professionals from all over Italy met to discuss intervention protocols, training, structural requirements and welfare of animals involved in therapy dog services.
Representatives of the “Direzione Generale Della Sanità Animale e dei Farmaci Veterinari “(General Directorate for Animal Health and Veterinary Drugs of the Ministry) participated too.
Associations and research centers, public and private organizations, have discussed the rules to ensure a consistent and coherent approach for the application of the principles and methods on the entire national territory, a model that has already raised interest in Europe.
Animal assisted interventions are realized more and more in several situations and applications including schools, residential homes for the elderly, associations for people with special needs or prisons.
For all of them what matters is the quality of interventions, and this means stating clear rules and methodologies by which professionals intend to operate, ensure the welfare of involved people and animals and encouraging consistency.