PAC is a nationally recognized program and has been published in Newsweek, Saturday Evening Post, Los Angeles Business Journal, Los Angeles Times, Santa Monica Mirror, and other local media. PAC has been featured on NBC's Today Show and KNBC-Los Angeles, which was nominated for a News Emmy. PAC, as well as individual PAC team members, have been the recipients of several special awards for their work with patients.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations uses PAC protocols to promote AAT/A, nationally and internationally. PAC assists other medical institutions, nationally and abroad, offering guidance in policy and procedures. Our therapy dog teams are all registered with the Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program, one of the most well-established therapy animal organizations in the United States.
The Growing Need for Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activity (AAT/A)
While medical advancement has resulted in shorter hospitalization, it also offers treatments and procedures for previously terminal diseases and injuries that may require long-term hospital care. Patients may experience stays of weeks or months, causing separation from loved ones and familiar surroundings. Prolonged pain, discomfort, and boredom often lead to loneliness, depression, and even hostility.
Dogs are naturally interactive and provide relief from long days in the hospital, helping patients to shift their focus from discomfort to enjoyment. The animals' unconditional love and attention brighten everyone's day - patients, visitors, and staff alike. Medical research has shown that AAT/A brings about physiological signs of relaxation such as decreased blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. In addition, AAT/A stimulates activity in Alzheimer's patients and in physical therapy and rehabilitation.
Each PAC team must meet PAC's strict eligibility criteria and successfully complete a nationally standardized behavioral exam. Following the exam is a lengthy period of screening and training, including classroom studies and supervised on-site visits. This training process can take up to 6 months or more. Not all teams will qualify to become part of UCLA's People Animal Connection program.