Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Dr. Joanne Wright

Second Advisor

Barbara Hooper

Third Advisor

Mary Ann Bush

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Occupational therapists can use animals to assist their clients in achieving goals in treatment. Most often dogs are used as they are more easily trained. The dog may fetch a ball thrown by the client or stand still and allow the client to brush it. These activities with the animal increase the client's range of motion, endurance and strength. Dogs as well as other animals are used in various ways to elicit the desired response from the client. No studies were found in the literature that examined the use of animals as adjuncts to, or as modalities in occupational therapy in a manner that would allow statistical interpretation of the data.

This study used an ex post facto pretest/ post-test design to determine the efficacy of animal assisted therapy to reach occupational therapy goals for persons who had experienced cerebral vascular accidents and were treated at a rehabilitation hospital. Animal assisted therapy was shown to be a statistically significant predictor of an increase in independence.