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Pet therapy in Italy: legislation, legislative process, guidelines and useful information on courses and therecognized pet therapyin Italy.
The termPet therapy it is, in fact, incorrect. This word, all too inflated, should be replaced with the more correct wording "Animal assisted intervention "(Iaa),which in turn is divided into:
- Animal Assisted Therapy (Taa)
- Animal Assisted Activity (Aaa)
- Animal Assisted Education (Eaa)
These are three different approaches to the so-called "pet therapy". For some years now, in Italy, the support and care programs for people with disabilities, suffering from autism, psychic disorders ... which involve direct contact with pets have multiplied.
Pet therapy in Italy
TheItaly, thePet therapyit was recognized as an official cure with the Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers of 28 February 2003 in response to the request of the Ministry of Health. Despite a reference decree, one was missing for many yearslegislationcomplete and, each Region, in full autonomy, has regulated the activities ofPet therapyown. The lack of a precise regulatory framework continued until a few years ago: on 25 March 2015, with the Permanent Conference for relations between the State, the Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, it gave rise to a " agreement "with someguidelinesfor the management ofAnimal Assisted Interventions (Iaa).
Thenational guidelinesfor "Animal assisted interventions" were proposed by the National Reference Center for Iaa, which is part of the Venice Zooprophylactic Institute. Betweenguidelines, in order to conduct thepet therapyin the best way, article 3 provides for the presence of a multidisciplinary team composed of various professional figures such as educator, psychologist, animal assistant, project coordinator and, if necessary, specific figures such as physiotherapist or nutritionist.
Pet therapy, course and legislative process
Even if they existguidelines for Pet Therapy in Italy, it is not certain that all structures will follow the required standards and have all the permits.
How to become a pet therapist?According to the agreement between the Regions and Provinces, the professional figures or "Pet therapist" who take care of following the patient in the "Animal assisted interventions "(Iaa)must have aspecific training.
Thecourse to followit must take place at the National Reference Center for Iaa, the Higher Institute of Health or public and private bodies accredited by the Regions and Autonomous Provinces. So there are severalcourses but, before registering, you need to make sure that they are properly recognized. Typically, thecoursetraining forpet therapist is divided into different levels, first of all it starts with a theoretical training (notions of ethology, regulations, animal care, permits ...) and then aims at the acquisition of practical notions (approach with the patient, management of the animal, simulation of exercises ...). The best organized courses to become pet therapist or better, "assistant in animal assisted interventions“, Provide, at the end of the course, an internship period in structures that already host projects of assisted activities.
The therapeutic value as well as the development of the thing itself varies according to the animal involved.
Which animals are suitable for pet therapy? The animals considered suitable for "assisted interventions" are all those "affectionate" animals. The most used animals are the horse, the donkey, the dog, the cat and the rabbit. The horse is so popular that it has a large number of specialized hippotherapy centers. While, as a matter of practicality, rabbits, cats and dogs are more used for thepet therapyin schools, hospitals and centers for the elderly.
Donkeys and horses are widely used inpet therapyfor autism and Down syndrome, the main difficulty of which is the ability to express emotions and control moods.