Animal-assisted therapy program sets meeting at NSCC for potential volunteers

Published 8:37 am Thursday, July 10, 2014

An elementary school student reads to a "Human Animal Bond in Tennessee" dog. HABIT animals wear the program's red bandanna during animal-assisted therapy visits.

An elementary school student reads to a “Human Animal Bond in Tennessee” dog. HABIT animals wear the program’s red bandanna during animal-assisted therapy visits.

Carter Countians who’d like to lend a paw to an innovative therapy program can learn more Monday when Human Animal Bond in Tennessee holds a meeting at Northeast State Community College.
“HABIT,” an animal-assisted therapy program of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, has organized therapy at more than 40 East Tennessee sites, including a number in Sullivan and Washington counties.
The program enlists volunteers and their dogs, cats, rabbits, horses and even dolphins to provide animal-assisted activities – essentially visiting with animals – and therapy.
The program sponsors animal-assisted therapy programs for all ages in settings such as nursing homes, retirement homes and assisted living centers, hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers and schools.
Monday’s meeting is a free informational session for anyone interested in becoming a volunteer. The session will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 for registration. The meeting will be held in room L106 at the Northeast State library.
During Monday’s meeting, a HABIT coordinator will explain what she is looking for in dogs, cats and rabbits as potential animal-assisted therapy partners. Attendance at an informational meeting is required before a person can become a HABIT volunteer and before a facility can partner with HABIT, but attendance does not imply any obligations.
Do not bring pets to this meeting.
This meeting is open to anyone with a general interest in animal-assisted therapy. While there is no fee or advanced registration required, those “interested should call the HABIT office 865-974-5633 or email if you plan to attend to ensure enough handouts are available.
For more information and directions, contact East Tennessee HABIT Program Coordinator Ruth Sapp either or at 865-974-5633.
The program’s website is

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