Online Noncredit Course
Animal-Assisted Therapy

Monday, October 2-22, 2016
Introductory Practice Week: September 25-October 1, 2016

You must log into the class the week of September 25th for the Introductory Week.
(The first Class Session starts October 2, 2016)

$225, .6 CEUs, CRN 169217

Approx. 6 Contact Hours
Self-Paced Online Course for Professionals
With Online Class Discussions

Approved for 6 Category 1 Continuing Education Credits
by the
NASW, NH Chapter, Authorization #2693

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Note about the course format: This course is offered completely online using the University of New Hampshire's (UNH) Canvas system. It is "asynchronous" meaning that you log into the course and class discussions on your own time 24/7 (rather than scheduled/real time). After registering, prior to the introductory week, you will be emailed special login instructions to access the Canvas course. To enter the course, you will need internet access and the Canvas login.

Materials used: Many of the resources used for this class have been obtained from and with the permission of Pet Partners, a nonprofit that fosters connections between humans and animals to improve people's health and well-being by incorporating therapy animals into their lives.

Please note: This is not the "Pet Partners Handler Course." The AAT course is designed for professional service providers in counseling related fields.

Course Outcome: You will gain knowledge integral to understanding and incorporating Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) into professional practice and will get exposure to client assessment and treatment skills.

Time Commitment: The course will take approximately six hours (at your own pace), with reading and online discussion requirements. You will be emailed a detailed schedule before the course begins.

Course Description:

Animal Assisted Therapy, based on a course originally developed by the Delta Society (now called Pet Partners), provides healthcare, mental health and education professionals with knowledge necessary to begin using Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) in their practice. It provides exposure to research methodology and current research in the field, an overview of evaluating and selecting animals as well as necessary skills vital to AAT--client assessment and client treatment.

AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. It is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of practice of his/her profession.

AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning. It is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature.

This is a 4-week online course including an Introductory Week where you must visit the class site to make sure you are able to login and access files without a problem from your computer so you can successfully complete the course.

Course Objectives:   

  • Identify differences between AAT and Animal-Assisted Activities.
  • Examine and critique research studies supporting clinical AAT.
  • Identify behavioral indicators of animal stress.
  • List three clinician responses to animal stress behaviors.
  • List clinician responses to animal stress behaviors.
  • State questions a clinician should ask him/herself when addressing each of the four primary assessment areas.
  • Identify issues that must be addressed in each of the three AAT treatment-planning phases: pre–treatment, treatment, post-treatment.
  • Identify strategies that can be used by clinicians to encourage reimbursement by third party payers.

Who Should Participate: This course has been developed specifically for healthcare, mental health, and education professionals. Examples of professionals who might take this course are:

  • mental health and social work providers,
  • occupational therapists,
  • nurses,
  • physical therapists,
  • child life specialists,
  • recreation therapists,
  • speech-language professionals, and
  • others in related fields.

Registered Students will receive Login Instructions Prior to the Introductory Week
A few weeks prior to the Introductory Week, those registered for the course will be sent an email from UNH with instructions on how to log into the Canvas system. The email will come from the UNH domain ( (Note: if you do not see this email, you should check your junk mail folder and/or set your email preferences to receive email from Once you receive the email, please be sure to follow the directions in this email carefully.

The Instructor, Jeri Zezula, will send Students a Welcome Letter and Detailed Schedule Prior to the Class Start
In addition to a separate email from with the login instructions, registered students will be emailed information from the instructor, Jeri Zezula. A PowerPoint and a PDF of the AAT course book and additional material for each week will be made available during the course for downloading. While students may access the material at any time during the week there will be class discussion boards posted with guidelines and time constraints. Students must participate in the discussions to receive the Certificate of Completion. All assignments and discussions will be monitored by the instructor. 

Certificate of Completion: Upon course completion, you will be sent a Certificate of Completion from UNH Professional Education. This course is also approved for 6 Category 1 CE Credits by the NASW, NH Chapter. In addition, .6 CEUs (Cont. Ed. Units) will be awarded and recorded with your UNH registration.

About the Instructor

Jerilee Zezula, a veterinarian and retired UNH professor, was in private small animal practice before beginning her teaching career. Among the Applied Animal Science classes she taught were Human/Animal Bond and Animal Assisted Activities and Therapy. She has been participating in and coordinating animal assisted activities with students since the 1980s and has been part of a Pet Partner team since 1997. She is currently service coordinator and a Pet Partners Handler Course Instructor for ElderPet (, a nonprofit organization that promotes the human/animal bond in many ways--including Pet Partners therapy animal handler training and team evaluations.

General Information

Course Login
A few weeks prior to the Introductory Week, all those who have registered for this course will be sent instructions about how to log into the online course. Please follow the directions in the email carefully. (See more information above about this.)

Cost and Refund Policy
The cost of the course is $225 and includes course materials. Refunds, less a $25 processing fee, will be given if written cancellation is received at least 5 business days prior to the course start.

Participants will receive .6 CEUs (continuing education units) from UNH attesting to your professional development. This course is also approved for 6 Category 1 Continuing Education Credits by the NASW, NH Chapter, Authorization #2693. (Students requiring CE hours in their state may also submit the syllabus to their licensing board for approval.)

For More Information
About the Program: Call (603) 862-7380

How to Register:
Online: Click Here and you will be directed to our new website. Click Add to Cart to process your registration.

By Phone: Call (603) 862-7380

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