What We Do
We are a human/canine/feline team of Animal-Assisted Intervention (AAI) providers with decades of experience helping both people and animals reach healing and learning milestones through the special bond they share.
AAI is a broad term used to describe the utilization of animals in a wide range of health, education and human service modalities; it's a unique and proven effective way of supplementing and strengthening more traditional forms of teaching and treatment.
In addition to utilizing professional therapy animals in behavioral healthcare settings in Kern County, CA, H2H is adapting to the rapidly-changing world by developing innovative programming that brings pet therapy's medicinal benefits into the arena of telehealth in virtual meeting spaces. And allows us to teach individuals and families at home how to bring out the therapy animal in their own pets, while cultivating and harnessing the best of themselves in the process.
On the Proven Efficacy of Animal-Assisted Interventions
Studies show that interacting with dogs is beneficial for humans’ physical, emotional, psychological, and social health. In a meta-analysis of 49 papers on the subject, AAT was associated with moderate effect sizes in improving outcomes in four areas: Autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral problems, and emotional well-being.
- Routine pet ownership is linked to beneficial results such as lower blood pressure, increased exercise, and stronger immunity (Lundahl, 2007; Anderson, Reid and Jennings 1992).
- In mental health settings, AAA and AAT help individuals to reduce anxiety, increase a sense of connection to a living being, reduce loneliness, and develop a variety of skills (Lundahl, 2007; Chandler 2005; Delta Society 2006).
- Therapy animals, generally used as a supplement -- or in conjunction with - other interventions, may promote a warm and safe atmosphere that can be independently therapeutic, and help clients accept interventions offered by the treatment provider (Lundahl, 2007).
- Dashnaw-Stiles (2001) asserted that every study investigating AAT showed positive outcomes (Lundahl, 2007).
- Brodie and Biley (1999) completed a qualitative review of AAT articles and found that AAT was associated with improvements in physiological health, social interactions, and happiness (Lundahl, 2007).
- A “calm” animal in a therapy session signals to an abuse survivor that the office is a safe place and the therapist is a safe person (Kruger, Trachtenberg, & Serpell, 2004).
- When people stroke and speak with their dogs, in addition to doubled blood levels of oxytocin, the interaction boosts levels of natural pain killers -- beta endorphins -- and the “reward hormone”, dopamine (Odendaal and Meintjes, 2003).
- Research specific to canine-assisted intervention has shown that dogs can ameliorate the effects of potentially stressful life events, and reduce levels of anxiety, loneliness and depression (Wells, 2007).
- Individuals with PTSD related to trauma often experience emotional numbing, yet the presence of an animal has been reported to elicit positive emotions and warmth (Marr et al., 2000; O'Haire et al., 2013)