5 images of service dogs
Animal Assisted Therapy dogs at work (Left to right) Ready to practice a medical procedure, a companion to a child in a hospital, Cynthia and Thor, A Service Dog backpack, and at the Family Assistance Center in Liberty State Park after 9/11.

Specially trained  Animal Assisted Therapy teams, under the guidance of facility personnel, help children and adults by normalizing the institutional experience, de-mystifying procedures as well as acting as facilitators for physical, recreational and psychological therapy.

Can you imagine how frightening being hospitalized can be to a toddler? Strange people come right up to you and poke and prod you?

What is it like to be hospitalized on Christmas or your birthday or for the 10th time this year – especially if you are a child

Would you be motivated to do your therapy, take your medication, co-operate with the staff or sit still for a procedure if you were seven and scared?

Through Dogs in Service, the Barking Hills family of instructors, students, and handlers oversees raising, training and placing of Assistance/Service Dogs and the supplying of trained and supervised Pet Assisted Therapy teams to chronic and acute care institutions.

Animal Assisted Therapy Dog/Handler teams work in chronic and acute care facilities with activities from basic companionship to work with the clinical team to improve the lives of children in the hospital.

Assistance and Service dogs help people living with a disability with activities of daily life. There are as many types of Assistance Dogs as there are people with disabilities. Each one is trained to someone’s specific needs, from  alerting someone with a hearing disability to smoke detectors, doorbells, telephones, the baby crying or someone speaking the person’s name, to mobility dogs that may help to brace or stabilize the person, pick up things that are dropped, open doors, turn light switches or carry items.