Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs
A Note on Standards
2. Materials and Methods
2.2. Materials and Procedure
3. Results—Recommended Definitions
3.1. Assistance Animal
- A guide animal for a person with a vision impairment helps its handler navigate around the neighborhood, avoiding stepping onto the street and into oncoming traffic, and avoiding potholes and other hazards on the walking path.
- A person with a psychological disability who becomes disoriented and needs to be taken home. In this case, the person may not be in a position to request help from the animal—the animal must be trained to be able to recognize the need and perform the task.
- An assistance animal for a person on the autism spectrum who is trained to lie on the person when that person is extremely distressed, providing a tactile stimulus that helps ground the person to help them calm down.
- A medical alert animal who alerts its handler with diabetes, or the handler’s carer, of a potentially dangerous fluctuation in their blood glucose levels. The animal may also be trained to bring necessary supplies (e.g., test kit) to assist the person.
3.2. Companion Animal
3.3. Educational/School Support Animal
3.4. Emotional Support Animal
3.5. Facility Animal
3.6. Service Animal
3.7. Skilled Companion Animal
3.8. Therapy Animal
3.9. Visitation or Visiting Animal
4.1. Elevate the Status of Companion Animals to Negate the Need for Emotional Support Animal Documentation
4.2. Implications for Different Regions of the World
4.3. Animal Welfare Considerations
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
- Walther, S.; Yamamoto, M.; Thigpen, A.P.; Garcia, A.; Willits, N.H.; Hart, L.A. Assistance Dogs: Historic Patterns and Roles of Dogs Placed by ADI or IGDF Accredited Facilities and by Non-Accredited U.S. Facilities. Front. Veter-Sci. 2017, 4, 1. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Phung, A.; Joyce, C.; Ambutas, S.; Browning, M.; Fogg, L.; Christopher, B.-A.; Flood, S. Animal-assisted therapy for inpatient adults. Nursing 2017, 47, 63–66. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- United Nations. Non-Discrimination: Groups in Vulnerable Situations. 2021. Available online: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/GroupsInVulnerableSituations.aspx (accessed on 30 November 2021).
- Graham, T.M.; Lucyk, K.; Diep, L.; Rock, M.J. Discrimination towards People Partnered with Assistance Dogs in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice. Soc. Anim. 2019, 30, 210–245. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Australian Human Rights Commission. Assistance Animals and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth). 2016. Available online: https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/disability-rights/projects/assistance-animals-and-disability-discrimination-act-1992-cth (accessed on 9 February 2021).
- Equality and Human Rights Commission. Assistance Dogs: A Guide for All Businesses; Equality and Human Rights Commission: Manchester, UK, 2017; Available online: https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/sites/default/files/assistance-dogs-a-guide-for-all-businesses.pdf (accessed on 27 July 2022).
- US Department of Justice. Service Animals. 2010. Available online: https://beta.ada.gov/topics/service-animals/ (accessed on 11 November 2021).
- Schoenfeld-Tacher, R.; Hellyer, P.; Cheung, L.; Kogan, L. Public Perceptions of Service Dogs, Emotional Support Dogs, and Therapy Dogs. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 642. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed][Green Version]
- Parenti, L.; Foreman, A.; Meade, B.J.; Wirth, O. A revised taxonomy of assistance animals. J. Rehabil. Res. Dev. 2013, 50, 745–756. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Pet Partners. Pet Partners. 2021. Available online: https://petpartners.org/ (accessed on 11 November 2021).
- Therapy Dogs Australia. Therapy Dogs Australia. 2021. Available online: https://therapydog.com.au/ (accessed on 11 November 2021).
- Inc, T.T.D. About. n.d. Available online: http://taloodles.com/about (accessed on 2 December 2021).
- IAHAIO. The IAHAIO Definitions for Animal Assisted Intervention and Guidelines for Wellness of Animals Involved in AAI. 2018. Available online: https://iahaio.org/iahaio-white-paper-updated-april-2018/ (accessed on 11 November 2021).
- AAII. Animal Assisted Intervention-Glossary of Terms. 2021. Available online: https://aai-int.org/aai/animal-assisted-intervention/ (accessed on 2 December 2021).
- Wood, W.; Alm, K.; Benjamin, J.; Thomas, L.; Anderson, D.; Pohl, L.; Kane, M. Optimal Terminology for Services in the United States That Incorporate Horses to Benefit People: A Consensus Document. J. Altern. Complement. Med. 2021, 27, 88–95. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Enders-Slegers, M.-J.; Hediger, K.; Beetz, A.; Jegatheesan, B.; Turner, D. Animal-assisted interventions with in an international perspective: Trends, research, and practices. In Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Foundations and Guidelines for Animal-Assisted Interventions; Fine, A., Ed.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2019; pp. 465–477. [Google Scholar]
- Howell, T.; Bennett, P.; Tepper, D. Key Terms for Animals in Disability Assistance Roles: Definitions and Literature Review. Bendigo, Victoria, Australia. 2019. Available online: https://www.ndis.gov.au/media/2542/download (accessed on 2 December 2021).
- Linder, D.E.; Siebens, H.C.; Mueller, M.K.; Gibbs, D.M.; Freeman, L.M. Animal-assisted interventions: A national survey of health and safety policies in hospitals, eldercare facilities, and therapy animal organizations. Am. J. Infect. Control. 2017, 45, 883–887. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Assistance Dogs International. Summary of Standards. 2021. Available online: https://assistancedogsinternational.org/standards/summary-of-standards/ (accessed on 6 October 2021).
- Pet Partners. The Importance of Standards. 2021. Available online: https://petpartners.org/standards/ (accessed on 6 October 2021).
- HETI. HETI Ethical Guidelines. 2021. Available online: https://hetifederation.org/resources/ethical-guidelines/ (accessed on 6 October 2021).
- AAII. Standards and Competencies. 2021. Available online: https://aai-int.org/aai/standards-of-practice/ (accessed on 2 December 2021).
- World Health Organisation. Disability. 2021. Available online: https://www.who.int/health-topics/disability#tab=tab_1 (accessed on 4 November 2021).
- Rook, D. For the Love of Darcie: Recognising the Human–Companion Animal Relationship in Housing Law and Policy. Liverp. Law Rev. 2018, 39, 29–46. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Stone, W.; Power, E.; Tually, S.; James, A.; Faulkner, D.; Goodall, Z.; Buckle, C. Housing and housing assistance pathways with companion animals: Risks, costs, benefits and opportunities. AHURI Final Rep. 2021. Available online: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3788639 (accessed on 27 July 2022).
- Queensland Government. Rental Law Reform, R.T; Authority, Ed.; Queensland Government: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, 2022. Available online: https://www.rta.qld.gov.au/about-us/legislation/rental-law-reform (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- Gov.UK. A Fairer Private Rented Sector. n.d. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-fairer-private-rented-sector/a-fairer-private-rented-sector (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- Power, E.R. Renting with pets: A pathway to housing insecurity? Housing Stud. 2017, 32, 336–360. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Carlisle-Frank, P.; Frank, J.M.; Nielsen, L. Companion animal renters and pet-friendly housing in the US. Anthrozoos 2005, 18, 59–77. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- European Guide Dog Federation. European Standard for Assistance Dogs-Progress Report. 2019. Available online: https://www.egdfed.org/news-information/reports/report-of-2019-conference-in-tallin-estonia/european-standard-for-assistance-dogs-progress-report/ (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- UK Government. ‘Finn’s Law’ Delivered to Protect Brave Service Animals 8 June 2019, UK Government. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/finns-law-delivered-to-protect-brave-service-animals (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- Delta Therapy Dogs. Delta Therapy Dogs Program. 2022. Available online: https://www.deltasociety.com.au/delta-therapy-dogs (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Home. 2017. Available online: https://www.therapydogs.com/ (accessed on 18 January 2022).
- Collica-Cox, K.; Day, G.J. Dogs as Therapeutic Partners, Not Therapeutic Tools: Ethical Considerations for AAT in the Correctional Setting. Soc. Sci. 2021, 10, 432. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Mellor, D.J. Operational details of the five domains model and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 2017, 7, 60. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
- Mellor, D.J.; Beausoleil, N.J.; Littlewood, K.E.; McLean, A.N.; McGreevy, P.D.; Jones, B.; Wilkins, C. The 2020 Five Domains Model: Including Human–Animal Interactions in Assessments of Animal Welfare. Animals 2020, 10, 1870. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Ng, Z.; Albright, J.; Fine, A.H.; Peralta, J. Our ethical and moral responsibility: Ensuring the welfare of therapy animals. In Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy, 4th ed.; Fine, A., Ed.; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2015; pp. 357–376. [Google Scholar]
- Coulter, K. Animals, Work, and the Promise of Interspecies Solidarity; Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2016. [Google Scholar]
- Coulter, K. Toward Humane Jobs and Work-Lives for Animals. In Animal Labour; Blattner, C., Coulter, K., Kymlicka, W., Eds.; Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK, 2020; pp. 29–47. [Google Scholar]
- Clark, S.D.; Martin, F.; McGowan, R.T.; Smidt, J.M.; Anderson, R.; Wang, L.; Turpin, T.; Langenfeld-McCoy, N.; Bauer, B.A.; Mohabbat, A.B. Physiological State of Therapy Dogs during Animal-Assisted Activities in an Outpatient Setting. Animals 2020, 10, 819. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Glenk, L.M. Current Perspectives on Therapy Dog Welfare in Animal-Assisted Interventions. Animals 2017, 7, 7. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Silas, H.J.; Binfet, J.-T.; Ford, A.T. Therapeutic for all? Observational assessments of therapy canine stress in an on-campus stress-reduction program. J. Veter.-Behav. 2019, 32, 6–13. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Young, J.; Bowen, H.; O’Dwyer, L.; Stevens, K.; Nottle, C.; Baker, A. A Qualitative Analysis of Pets as Suicide Protection for Older People. J. Int. Soc. Anthrozool. 2020, 33, 191–205. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Meehan, M.; Massavelli, B.; Pachana, N. Using Attachment Theory and Social Support Theory to Examine and Measure Pets as Sources of Social Support and Attachment Figures. J. Int. Soc. Anthrozool. 2017, 30, 273–289. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hawkins, R.D.; Hawkins, E.L.; Tip, L. “I can’t give up when i have them to care for”: People’s experiences of pets and their mental health. Anthrozoos 2021, 34, 543–562. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Adams, A.C.; Sharkin, B.S.; Bottinelli, J.J. The Role of Pets in the Lives of College Students: Implications for College Counselors. J. Coll. Stud. Psychother. 2017, 31, 306–324. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Rodriguez, K.E.; Herzog, H.; Gee, N.R. Variability in Human-Animal Interaction Research. Front. Veter-Sci. 2021, 7, 619600. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
- Herzog, H. The impact of pets on human health and psychological well-being: Fact, fiction, or hypothesis? Curr. Direct. Psychol. Sci. 2011, 20, 236–239. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Irvine, L.; Cilia, L. More-than-human families: Pets, people, and practices in multispecies households. Sociol. Compass 2017, 11, e12455. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Hill, K. Tattoo narratives: Insights into multispecies kinship and griefwork. Anthrozoos 2020, 33, 709–726. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Charles, N.; Davies, C.A. My family and other animals: Pets as kin. In Human and Other Animals; Mack, A., Ed.; Springer: Berlin/Heidelberg, Germany, 2011; pp. 69–92. [Google Scholar]
- Charles, N. Post-human families? Dog-human relations in the domestic sphere. Sociol. Res. Online 2016, 21, 83–94. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Kerman, N.; Lem, M.; Witte, M.; Kim, C.; Rhoades, H. A Multilevel Intervention Framework for Supporting People Experiencing Homelessness with Pets. Animals 2020, 10, 1869. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- Cleary, M.; West, S.; Visentin, D.; Phipps, M.; Westman, M.; Vesk, K.; Kornhaber, R. The Unbreakable Bond: The Mental Health Benefits and Challenges of Pet Ownership for People Experiencing Homelessness. Issues Ment. Health Nurs. 2020, 42, 741–746. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
- US Department of Transportation. Final Rule: Traveling by Air with Service Animals. 2020. Available online: https://www.transportation.gov/individuals/aviation-consumer-protection/final-rule-traveling-air-service-animals (accessed on 21 January 2022).
- Mellor, D.J. Updating animal welfare thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” towards “a Life Worth Living”. Animals 2016, 6, 21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
|Term||General Purpose||Training Standards *||Public Access **||Key Points|
|Assistance Animal||Lives with and supports a handler with a disability/disabilities (physical, developmental, intellectual, neurological, and/or psychological)||Advanced||Yes||Umbrella term for an animal typically living with a handler with a disability (or a family member who could serve as the handler) that has been trained to perform tasks that mitigate effects of that specific disability, with behavior and hygiene maintenance suitable for public access.|
|Companion Animal||Companionship||None||No||Synonymous with pet (i.e., an animal kept purely for companionship). Other benefits to well-being may be enjoyed by the owner, but this is not a requirement.|
|Educational support—improve learning or developmental outcomes for students||High||No||An animal who works in educational settings with a handler to improve educational outcomes for participants. Educational activities must be structured, goal-directed, and overseen by a licensed teacher or pedagogue.|
|Emotional Support |
|Emotional support, primarily in the home, for an owner with a diagnosed disability||None||No||Differs from assistance animal in training standards for public access and does not perform specific tasks to provide disability support tasks/behaviors.|
|Depends on the specific role of the animal||High||No||Typically, an animal with training to work in a specific facility (e.g., a hospital) or type of facility (e.g., legal settings). Recommend mostly phasing this term out due to broad, vague nature of current use and overlap with other terms in most cases, with the exception of animals working in legal settings, which we recommend calling “justice facility animal”.|
|Synonymous with assistance animal||Advanced||Yes||This term is commonly used to describe assistance animals in some North American and European countries. Recommend phasing out and using the term “assistance animal”.|
|Disability support for an individual with a disability under the guidance of a facilitator||Advanced||Yes—when with facilitator||Term used by some assistance animal providers. |
Recommend phasing out and using the term “assistance animal”.
|Improve specific therapeutic outcomes||High||No||Animal is integrated into therapy or treatment which must be structured, goal-directed, and overseen by a |
licensed healthcare professional trained in the relevant therapeutic field.
|Visitation or Visiting Animal||Improve general quality of life, various settings (e.g., hospitals, aged care, residential care)||High||No||Well-trained animal–handler team, primarily performed on a non-professional or volunteer basis. Differs from therapy animal (above) as programs are unstructured with no specific therapeutic goals, although some participants may experience benefits to well-being.|
Publisher’s Note: MDPI stays neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Howell, T.J.; Nieforth, L.; Thomas-Pino, C.; Samet, L.; Agbonika, S.; Cuevas-Pavincich, F.; Fry, N.E.; Hill, K.; Jegatheesan, B.; Kakinuma, M.; et al. Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs. Animals 2022, 12, 1975. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12151975
Howell TJ, Nieforth L, Thomas-Pino C, Samet L, Agbonika S, Cuevas-Pavincich F, Fry NE, Hill K, Jegatheesan B, Kakinuma M, et al. Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs. Animals. 2022; 12(15):1975. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12151975Chicago/Turabian Style
Howell, Tiffani J., Leanne Nieforth, Clare Thomas-Pino, Lauren Samet, Sunday Agbonika, Francisca Cuevas-Pavincich, Nina Ekholm Fry, Kristine Hill, Brinda Jegatheesan, Miki Kakinuma, and et al. 2022. "Defining Terms Used for Animals Working in Support Roles for People with Support Needs" Animals 12, no. 15: 1975. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12151975