Animal-Assisted Therapy

Online Course!

Approved by NASW, NH Chapter for 6 Category 1 CE Credits, Auth. #2693

Five Week Schedule: Intro Week: February 24; Course: March 5-23, 2018.

In this noncredit introductory course you will receive comprehensive knowledge necessary to begin using Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in your practice, as well as exposure to client assessment and treatment skills. This course provides healthcare, mental health, social work, and related professionals with the knowledge to begin using AAT in their practice. Examples of professionals who might take this course are: mental health and social work providers, occupational therapists, nurses, physical therapists, child life specialists, recreation therapists, speech-language professionals, and others in related fields. 

AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. It is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of practice of his/her profession. 

AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning. It is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature.

The course will take approximately six hours at your own pace, with opportunities for online discussions with the instructor. You'll be emailed a detailed schedule and instructions prior to the course start. Upon completion, you'll receive a certificate from UNH Professional Development documenting six hours of noncredit course work. 

The first week is an introductory week to log in. 

Time Commitment: 
The course will take approximately six hours (at your own pace), with reading and online discussion requirements. You will be emailed a detailed schedule before the course begins. 

Registered Students will receive Login Instructions Prior to the Introductory Week
A few weeks prior to the Introductory Week, those registered for the course will be sent an email from UNH with instructions on how to log into the Canvas system. The email will come from the UNH domain (@unh.edu). (Note: if you do not see this email, you should check your junk mail folder and/or set your email preferences to receive email from unh.edu.) Once you receive the email, please be sure to follow the directions in this email carefully.

The Instructor, Jeri Zezula, will send Students a Welcome Letter and Detailed Schedule Prior to the Class Start
In addition to a separate email from unh.edu with the login instructions, registered students will be emailed information from the instructor, Jeri Zezula. A PowerPoint and a PDF of the AAT course book and additional material for each week will be made available during the course for downloading. While students may access the material at any time during the week there will be class discussion boards posted with guidelines and time constraints. Students must participate in the discussions to receive the Certificate of Completion. All assignments and discussions will be monitored by the instructor.  

For More Information
Call (603) 862-7380 or email professional.development@unh.edu


What You Will Learn


Animal-Assisted Therapy

Course Objectives:   
• Identify differences between AAT and Animal-Assisted Activities.
• Examine and critique research studies supporting clinical AAT.
• Identify behavioral indicators of animal stress.
• List three clinician responses to animal stress behaviors.
• List clinician responses to animal stress behaviors.
• State questions a clinician should ask him/herself when addressing each of the four primary assessment areas.
• Identify issues that must be addressed in each of the three AAT treatment-planning phases: pre–treatment, treatment, post-treatment.
• Identify strategies that can be used by clinicians to encourage reimbursement by third party payers.

Tools & Materials


Animal-Assisted Therapy

Online Requirements

Hosted by UNH Canvas learning management system. Participants must be prepared to:

1) access the course regularly via the internet and participate in a dynamic learning environment with other students and the instructor,

2) organize their time to complete assignments and meet deadlines, and

3) respond to an email from UNH IT department to set up an account and access the course online.

Technical Requirements for an online course
1) Recently purchased Mac or PC
2) An internet connection via a hardwire(!) is preferable
3) A high speed wireless internet system at home is OK (Public wireless connections are not recommended)
4) Internet speeds of at least 1.5Mbps/1.5Mbps (up/down). http://www.speedtest.net
5) Laptop camera or USB camera (optional)
6) Microphone or USB headset

In addition, participants should be comfortable with the following computer skills:

Use a word processing application including features such as copy/cut/paste
Attach and upload documents and assignments
Send and receive email
Use a supported web browser to access your course and other online resources on the Web.

Instructor Bios


Animal-Assisted Therapy

  • Jerilee Zezula

    Jerilee Zezula, a veterinarian and retired UNH professor, was in private small animal practice before beginning her teaching career. Among the Applied Animal Science classes she taught were Human/Animal Bond and Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy. She has been participating in and coordinating animal assisted activities with students since the 1980s and has been a part of a Pet Partner team since 1997. She is currently service coordinator and a Pet Partners Handle Course Instructor for ElderPet (www.elderpet.org), a non profit organization that promotes the human/animal bond in many ways--including Pet Partners therapy animal handler training and team evaluations.

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