In one of our previous articles on this blog, we explored how pets can be beneficial for the mental and physical health of people. But did you know that pets and animals can be used for therapy purposes as well? Yes, you heard that right, In fact, there is an entire specialization focused on the therapeutic use of pets and animals known as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) utilizes the connection between humans and various animals, such as cats, dogs, birds and horses, to bring about healing and change. Like any other form of therapy, AAT is also goal-directed in nature and it can be used in the treatment of various issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, etc. In this article, we’ll explore a few Animal Assisted Therapy providers in India.

  • Animal Angels Foundation, Pune

Animal Angels Foundation is India’s largest registered non-profit organization focused on Human-Animal Interaction and Animal Assisted Interventions. They have an extensive team of trained therapy dogs, pet parents, volunteers, and mental health professionals who have been providing programs based on human-animal interaction for the past 14 years. They launched their first physical centre in Pune, where they offer animal-assisted therapy interventions for both children and adults. These interventions are goal-directed and are facilitated by a trained therapist. Apart from this, they also offer animal-assisted counselling sessions, play therapy sessions and mindfulness sessions with their trained therapy animals.

  • Manav Foundation, Mumbai

Manav Foundation is a rehabilitation centre in Mumbai that focuses on helping people with mental illnesses. They offer animal-assisted therapy sessions. These sessions are facilitated in collaboration with the Animal Angels Foundation mentioned above. The goal of these sessions is to create a safe and non-judgmental environment for people by using therapy animals. The eventual goal of sessions is to improve cognitive functioning in people, which eventually contributes to their recovery.

  •  Qi To Happiness, Ahmedabad

The Qi To Happiness Foundation is a unique initiative that advocates for the compassionate treatment of both humans and animals through education and sustainable interventions. They run a unique initiative called ‘The Essential Supportive Interventions Program’ that aims at using animal-assisted therapy as one of the modalities to treat and help children with disabilities. Additionally, they also have a ‘Comfort Dog Programme’ wherein people of any age can come and visit their trained therapy dogs. Spending time with these therapy dogs can help people overcome emotions such as stress and anxiety.

  • Wag-Ville, Bangalore

Wag Ville is primarily a daycare centre for dogs in Bangalore, but they offer unique animal-assisted therapy called ‘Equine Assisted Therapy’. Equine Assisted Therapy involves the use of horseback riding for therapeutic purposes. In this therapy model, a trained therapist works with a horse expert to plan goal-directed therapeutic activities. These therapeutic activities are monitored and changed from time to time depending on the progress of clients. Therapeutic horse riding can bring several benefits, such as increased confidence, improved social skills, etc. Other activities, such as grooming a horse, can also help with cognition and memory.

It is important to note that the above information is based on our research, and we do not have any association or personal experience with the above-mentioned organizations. Thus, it is advisable to conduct your own research before opting for any Animal Assisted Therapy services.

Interested in learning more about pets and mental health? Click here to read our article about the mental health benefits of having a pet


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Dhruva Koranne

Dhruva Koranne has completed his Masters in Applied Psychology from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, BALM. He has been practicing as a counsellor since 2020 and works to create a safe space for clients where they can open up. In addition to this, Dhruva loves researching and studying about upcoming theories in the field of Psychology. Connect with him on Linkedin