Animal-Assisted Programming

Yes, animal-assisted programming is proven to help with the treatment experience. More importantly, these pups are kind-spirited and adorable. Read about the benefits and meet the dogs with day jobs at Hazelden Betty Ford.
Animal-assisted programming dog

Specially trained dogs bring comfort and acceptance to patients

Research shows that including therapy animals in addiction treatment programs can benefit patients in several ways, including:

  • Strengthening and improving patient/counselor rapport
  • Enhancing the treatment experience
  • Reducing the patient’s level of anxiety or distress
  • Increasing the likelihood for successful treatment outcomes

Therapy animals provide a comforting presence and a reassuring sense of security and support, especially for patients struggling with grief, anxiety or depression.

As clinically appropriate for patients, our specially trained dogs are involved in several different aspects of rehab, including:

  • Small group sessions
  • Private therapy sessions
  • Group lectures
  • Special-focus groups (grief, meditation)
  • Wellness activities (yoga class)
Harnessing science, love and the wisdom of lived experience, we are a force of healing and hope ​​​​​​​for families and communities affected by substance use and mental health conditions.