Oknooshoon provides canine-assisted interventions (CAIs) in Armenia with a certified CAI Team (Therapy Dog and Handler). This will mutually benefit dogs and people in Armenia, by giving vulnerable populations access to therapy dogs and improving the troubled human-canine relationship through education. After a 12 week pilot at four facilities for institutionalized youth and individuals with disabilities, the project will be assessed for impact and expanded to more target populations.
In Armenia many children and individuals with disabilities are put into institutions. In such institutions, because of the lack of care-resources, residents are at a higher risk for developing mental illnesses and later on they may also have problems for integrating into society. Within Armenia there is also a strained relationship between dogs and people which prevents them from forming the mutually beneficial bond. This leads to a high incidence of animal cruelty and a prevalent fear of dogs.
Oknooshoon uses canine-assisted interventions (CAIs) to help vulnerable people and dogs in Armenia, while also improving the local human-canine bond. We have trained and certified Armenia's first CAI team, and will begin to bring them to target groups. The handler facilitates activities between participants and the dog, or guides the dog to support an existing professionally-facilitated therapeutic intervention. This will benefit underserved human populations and improve human-canine relations.
Oknooshoon is launching a 12 week pilot in December at four facilities with one CAI team. This crowdfunding campaign will allow us to complete the pilot and fund research analysis to measure our impact. We have identified metrics to assess the social and emotional impact of our CAIs on the participants, using research methods developed with occupational therapist. Funds raised will also allow the CAIs to continue on through 2020, and fund our animal welfare education and activities.