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Most Americans would agree that we are a pet-loving society. It is estimated that more than 75% of US households keep a pet and that children are more likely to grow up in a home with a pet than with a sibling or second parent. In fact, findings from a number of studies have revealed that a majority of individuals with pets consider them to be members of their family. No matter the individualís age, race, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or life condition, people perceive pets as important, supportive parts of their lives.


It is notable then, that human service providers have not been trained to include human-animal relationships as an important component of an individualís social landscape. The Animal-Assisted Interactions concentration recognizes that interactions between people and animals are similar to the interactions between people and can offer further insight into human social mechanisms and processes. The Animal-Assisted Interactions concentration provides students with an opportunity to explore the dynamics associated with pets as part of the human social landscape and provides a variety of evidence-based applications that integrate human-animal relationships into human service practice.


The field of animal interaction applications is rapidly growing and expanding. The recent National Institutes of Child Mental Health approval of research in animal interaction programs has resulted in a need for professionals with skills in the design, development and management of these programs. In addition, animal interaction applications are now more than ever required to demonstrate measureable client outcomes.


Tri-County Community College offers an Associateís Degree in Human Services Technology/Animal Assisted Interactions and a certificate in Animal Assisted Interactions for individuals already trained as a human service professional. For more information see the link on this website.† Graduates with specific training in the delivery of goal specific human-animal interactions and experience in animal selection will be an asset to a variety of agencies and organizations seeking to implement or expand these innovative programs.


Animal Assisted Interaction is a growing field and this concentration could give the graduate an edge in the job market as they will have additional skills.

Animal Assisted Interactions

For more information call Kathleen Hearl at 828-835-4247 or Email Kathleen by clicking on the graphic below.