By: Alison Milligan

  1. 1792-Animal therapy was first recorded at York Retreat in England. The retreat was put on by the Society of Friends and used animals to help treat people with mental illnesses.[1]
  2. 1933-Sigmund Freud’s favorite chow chow, Jo-Fi, attended all of his therapy sessions. This led Freud to notice that with Jo-fi there the patients felt more comfortable and made it easier for patients to take more away from therapy.[2]
  3. 1944-1945- The first documented use of animal therapy was at Pawling Air Force Base, in Convalescent Hospital in New York. The wounded soldiers worked with different animals like horses, chickens, and cows. [3]
  4. 1963- Dr. Boris Levinson published “Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy.” Which started the Animal Assisted Therapy movement. He found that pets provide a safe environment for children and adult patients.[4]
  5. 1969- The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, now PATH, was founded. Their mission is to promote safe guidelines for therapeutic horseback riding in the United States and Canada. [5]
  6. 1976- Therapy Dogs International (TDI) was founded by Elaine Smith. The purpose of TDI is to increase and bring together the number of available Therapy Dogs. The purpose is also to educate facilities that dogs are brought to about the importance and benefit of Therapy Dog visits.[6]
  7. 1977- The Delta Foundation was founded in Portland, Oregon. The purpose of the Delta Foundation was to study the human and animal connection.[7]
  8. 1981- The first international conference of the human-animal bond was held at the University of Pennsylvania. This is where Dr. McCulloch stated that pet therapy offers hope for helping human suffering.[8]
  9. 1990 – The International Association for Human-Animal Interaction Organization was founded to bring people and organizations together to advance the appreciation and understanding of the bond that humans and animals have.[9]
  10. 1996- The Delta Foundation published the first book about animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activities.[10]


[1] “History of Animal Assisted Therapy.” Animal Assisted Therapy Cheshire. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2014. <http://www.animal-assisted-therapy-cheshire.com/historical–present-development-of-aat.html>.

[2] Beck, Melinda. “Beside Freud’s Couch, a Chow Named Jofi.” The Wall Street Journal 21 Dec. 2010: n.pag. Web. 26 Jan. 2014. <http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748703886904576031630124087362>.

[3] Altschiller, Donald. Animal-Assisted Therapy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2011. Pg. 4. Print.

[4] Ibid.

[5] PATH International,. “About PATH International.” www.pathintl.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Jan. 2014. <http://www.pathintl.org/about-path-intl/about-path-intl>.

[6] Therapy Dogs International, . “Tail Waggin’ Tutors.” www.tdi-dog.org. Therapy Dogs International , n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2014.< http://www.tdi-dog.org/About.aspx?Page=Mission+Statement+and+History>

[7] Altschiller. Loc.cit Pg 5.

[8] Ibid.

[9]IAHAIO, . “History.” www.iahaio.org. n.p., Web. 25 Jan. 2014. <http://www.iahaio.org/new/index.php?display=history>.

[10] Altschiller, loc.cit. Pg 5-6.