Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Pet therapy (also known as Animal Assisted Therapy {AAT}) today involves both human and animal interactions. Pet therapy is utilized most commonly with the elderly living in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities or assisted living facilities to promote health and healing for the patients. It is especially beneficial for those who are chronically ill, may suffer from disabilities or may have depression. The feeling of isolation and loneliness that accompanies depression is not healthy, especially for the elderly population. Research has shown that the health and well-being of the elderly who suffer from depression, decline rapidly when compared to those elderly that stay active, are frequently around people, or who have pets at home

Studies have suggested that pet therapy provides several benefits for the elderly at home and in LTC facilities. Pet therapy has been shown to have a positive effect on social behavior; as well as improving the quality oflife for the elderly living in LTC facilities. The purpose of this project is to design an effective pet therapy program for cognitively intact elders living in a ITC setting