Anyone who has ever owned a dog is familiar with the special bond that is formed almost instantaneously with our loyal companions. This unique connection is particularly important for people with physical and mental disabilities. Afikim Dog Kennels' Animal Assisted Therapy Program allows handicapped people of all ages – whether in institutions or special education schools – to enjoy and benefit from this life-changing connection.
The dogs chosen to accompany people with special needs undergo a strict behavioral screening process to ensure they will not intimidate the patients by lashing out or by barking uncontrollably. The dogs selected for the program have a pleasant and stable demeanor, they love human contact and seek it with a loving look, or by approaching the patient and gently lifting their paw. It is our responsibility to find the perfect therapy dogs for the job. Since behavioral characteristics are hereditary in dogs, we know in advance which dogs will have a calm and tranquil temperament, and we can pair them up with the most suitable family and provide the required guidance for their upbringing.
In the last few years, Afikim Kennels has been training educators to implement dog-assisted therapy as a means for conducting educational and therapeutic interventions in different populations. Collaborating with the Kinneret Academic College, Afikim Kennels launched in 2012 an academic program for dog-assisted therapy training in educational and therapeutic institutions.