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Animal-Assisted Interventions

Online Module

This self-paced online module aims to prepare social work and mental health practitioners for the unique conceptual, clinical and ethical challenges related to animal-assisted interventions (AAI). Through course readings, recorded instructor-guided lessons, and online quizzes, this module introduces trainees to practical approaches for strengthening planning and delivery strategies for evidence-based treatments incorporating animals.

Module Goals:

  1. To integrate knowledge and theory about animal-assisted interventions in the context of social work with vulnerable groups.
  2. To evaluate the existing evidence regarding human-animal interactions.
  3. To understand methods, standards, and guideline of incorporating animals into social work practice.
  4. To demonstrate the integration of theory and practice through written and oral skills.
  5. To apply ethical standards and principles necessary to incorporate animals into social work practice in different settings.

Required text:

Fine, A. H. (Ed.). (2015). Handbook on Animal-assisted Therapy: Foundations and Guidelines for Animal assisted Interventions. Academic Press. Fourth Edition.

This text book will need to be purchased or rented in order to complete the course. You may be able to find the book for free at your local library. If you are a recent graduate or faculty/staff at a university, the textbook may be available through the university library.

Availability: Year round

Who can enroll? Anyone interested in learning more about AAI

This program is Approved by the National Association of Social Workers (Approval # 886617824-1067) for 22.5 continuing education contact hours.

To Purchase a Module, CLICK HERE

You will need to create an account in order to register for online modules and face-to-face events if this is your first time using this system. 

AAI Supervision

Supervision Description: Participants meet with AAI topic experts, Aviva Vincent and Dr. Zenithson Ng, for 2 2hr video supervision sessions. Before each session, activities will be assigned that will be completed before the session begins. The first session is dedicated to the discussion of evidence based practice and research in the field of AAI. The second session is dedicated to discussing the development of each participants dream AAI program. After supervision, participants will meet face-to-face at the AAI Workshop in Knoxville.

Prerequisites: AAI Module

Availability: January-March, yearly

Who can enroll? Social workers and mental health professionals only

AAI Workshop

Workshop Description: The face to face AAI Workshop serves as the culmination of the AAI learning experience. Students will leave the session proficient in program design, implementation, and evaluations. Students will leave the session with a clear  program or conceptual idea for their professional trajectory


  1. Completion of AAI online module
  2. Completion of 2 AAI online supervision sessions
    • Online supervision is hosted in February annually. The Workshop is hosted March annually. In order to attend the workshop, you must attend the supervision sessions right before the workshop!
    • For more information about these sessions, click here to complete a short form.

Course Objectives:

  1. To be proficient in program design, implementation, and evaluation
  2. To be proficient in using tools to creatively develop potential growth of their professional career
  3. To understands ethical considerations for animals and clients, and knowledge to respond appropriately
  4. To be competent in facing challenges of developing AAI programs and working directly with clients
  5. To be competent in engaging with clients and documenting the progress of animals and clients orientation.

Next Workshop:

March 16-17, 2019.

Knoxville, TN

Who can enroll? Social workers and mental health professionals only

Would you like to learn more about the Animal Assisted Intervention module, supervision sessions, and workshop? Click here to complete a short form, and we will email you with more information.


Dr. Zenithson (Zenny) Ng

Zenithson (Zenny) Ng is a clinical assistant professor of Community Practice at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.  He received his undergraduate degree in animal science from Rutgers University and veterinary degree from Cornell University.  He completed a small animal rotating internship at the Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA in New York City before entering a combined ABVP (canine/feline) residency and master’s degree in human-animal bond studies program at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine.  It was through this unique program that he was able to enhance his medical and surgical skills while developing expertise in human-animal relationships.  Specifically, he published research investigating the effects of animal-assisted interventions on the behavior and physiology of the animals themselves.  In addition to his role in teaching veterinary students, he is the veterinary advisor for the Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT) program, the animal-assisted intervention program of the University of Tennessee, which is comprised of over 500 volunteers at facilities throughout east Tennessee.  He has been actively engaged in animal-assisted interventions with his own golden retriever, Grace.  Zenny’s clinical interests include behavior, dentistry, preventive medicine, and management of gastrointestinal and renal disease.  His research interests include the effect of animal-assisted interventions on both humans and animals and is currently investigating the effect of the presence of a dog on anxiety and dose of anesthesia in children with cancer

Aviva Vincent

Aviva Vincent is a  doctoral student at Case Western Reserve University in the Mandel School of Applied Social Science and a Fellow at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research, and Education. She earned her MSW from the University of Connecticut School in Community Organizing focusing on international issues and urban development with a focus on youth’s rights to access quality education. At the University of Connecticut, she developed the first Equine Facilitated Therapy field placement with Ebony Horsewomen in Hartford.  Her research interests include exploring the biological impact animals have on humans, program implantation, fidelity, and evaluation. Aviva is an avid advocate for the inclusion of human-­animal interaction within social work practice and curricula. She is a certified provider for animal-­assisted interventions with Path International and Therapy Dogs International. Currently, Aviva volunteers with her dog, Shaina, through Therapy Dogs International at Breakthrough Village Preparatory school in Ohio City, Campus Canines, and other local initiatives.


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Please email any questions to or call (865) 696-1117.

Click here to view our refund policy for our modules. Click here to view our policy for face-to-face trainings.

Veterinary Social Work

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