Child and Youth Care Forum

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 89-101

First online:

Some of our best therapists are dogs

  • Gerald P. MallonAffiliated withGreen Chimneys Children's Services

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The potential values of using animals as adjuncts in work with children and youth have begun to be explored in a variety of settings. The exploratory study reported here used a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to assess the benefits and drawbacks of introducing dogs into living units in group care programs. Although both benefits and drawbacks were identified, the benefits appeared to out-weigh the drawbacks by a wide margin. Differences by age of clientele were identified, and implications of the findings are suggested.