Abstract

For centuries, dogs have been utilized for therapeutic purposes, as pets, and as highly trained service animals. Past research has focused specifically on the benefits associated with utilizing service dogs, especially for people with disabilities and veterans. 4 Paws for Ability is an organization designed to place service dogs with children and veterans who need their assistance in order to live productive and functional lives. Recently, they have started partnering with universities in an effort to increase the access to service dogs for these individuals. Students commit to fostering a service-dog-in-training for a semester and are responsible for socializing them. They take the dogs to class, work, and other places on campus so that the dogs can become familiar with situations they could potentially encounter when placed with a child or veteran. This research sought to determine the perceptions of students at Eastern Kentucky University regarding the introduction of this program. A survey was sent out to EKU students that revealed past pet interactions, knowledge of the therapy dog program on campus, and the likelihood of participating in the program. Results revealed an overwhelming support for the program, with few, easily addressed concerns identified by students. Suggestions regarding future research are provided.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 2015

Mentor

Kathy Splinter-Watkins

Department/Professional Affiliation

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Department

Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

IRB Approval Number (if applicable)

15-144

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