Pet Partners

Pet Partners conference

Pet Partners Conference 2019: Partnering with a Purpose

August 7, 2019

Are you passionate about animal-assisted interventions (AAI)? Interested in hearing from leaders in the field? Excited to network with handlers and animal-assisted therapy practitioners?

Please join us September 20-21, 2019 at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter, in San Antonio, Texas for our 2019 Conference: Partnering with a Purpose!

Pet Partners knows animal-assisted interventions have a significant, positive impact on human health and well-being. Our goal is to provide high-quality learning opportunities to strengthen the field of AAI and professionalize our shared passion for therapy animal work. At this year’s conference, we look forward to partnering with you just as you partner with your therapy animals to bring comfort, healing, and joy to others.

What Can You Expect at Partnering with a Purpose?

  • Presentations from world-class speakers
  • Three tracks of sessions covering the latest in AAI research, best practices in therapy animal handling, community development and engagement, advocacy, and more
  • Networking opportunities with practitioners, handlers, facilities, and Pet Partners staff
  • An exhibitor hall including a Pet Partners pop-up shop
  • Breakfast, lunch, and snacks on Friday and Saturday
  • A Texas-sized dinner celebration event Friday evening

All of this is included in your registration. You won’t find a conference of this caliber and scope for a better price!

Keynote Speaker: Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell

Victoria Stilwell

A world-renowned dog trainer best known as the star of the international hit TV series “It’s Me or the Dog,” Victoria Stilwell is a champion of humane, force-free positive training. She is also the author of three best-selling books: It’s Me or the Dog – How to Have the Perfect Pet, Train Your Dog Positively, and The Secret Language of Dogs, with a fourth book – The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Puppy – scheduled to be released in 2019. We’re honored to have her present our conference keynote:

Confidence and the Power of Choice
Domestic dogs have to be incredibly resilient to negotiate our human world and this resilience is tested every day. Whether we have working or companion dogs, so much of our dogs’ lives are controlled by us and we forget how disempowering this can be. But what happens when we allow our dogs the opportunity to make more choices? Can giving up control really make our dogs more resilient? Learn how doing less and giving your dog more choice in daily life enhances your dog’s ability to learn, increases confidence, and strengthens the relationship between you.

Speakers & Program Sessions

We are also planning world-class programming. With three tracks of breakout sessions over two days, conference attendees will hear from leading voices in AAI and learn about current research, best practices, and policy considerations to help expand the impact of AAI. We’ve assembled an incredible lineup of speakers who want to share their knowledge with you and support the vital work of AAI and the profound impact of the human-animal bond. Here’s a sample of the program sessions that will be offered:

Dr. Sandra Barker

Dr. Sandra Barker

Providing Animal-Assisted Interventions in Hospitals
Presented by Dr. Sandra Barker
This presentation will focus on animal-assisted interventions in hospital settings. Based on the author’s extensive experience as an AAI administrator, practitioner, and researcher in an academic medical center, she will address challenges to implementing AAI programs in hospitals as well as evidence of the efficacy of AAI in hospital settings. Suggestions for developing successful hospital-based programs will be provided along with a discussion of benefits and risks for AAI teams. An example of a successful, evidence-based AAI program will also be presented.

Dr. Nancy Gee

Dr. Nancy Gee

Do Animals Make Us Smarter?
Presented by Dr. Nancy Gee
The field of human-animal interactions is finally catching up with what teachers have known for a very long time – having animals in the classroom can be beneficial to student learning. This presentation will summarize what we know about how animals help students learn with a focus on the latest and strongest evidence available on the subject. Topics of discussion will include where and how animals are involved in educational settings and how and why animals may impact such things as student social skills, attention, memory, stress and anxiety, and executive functioning. Critical to this discussion is the process of creating an environment that is safe for all and conducive to learning. To accomplish this, animal-assisted education must meet the needs of the students, animals, and teachers/staff. A necessary next step in this process is educational policy change and specific evidence-based recommendations will be discussed.

Dr. Aubrey Fine

Dr. Aubrey Fine

Remember Me: Honoring and Understanding the Impact of the Lives of our Therapy Animals
Presented by Dr. Aubrey Fine
It is important for those of us who provide AAI, and work alongside animals, to understand that not only are we impacted by the loss of a therapy animal, but so are our clients. This session will offer insights and strategies for handlers and clients to help cope with loss. When Aubrey’s beloved therapy animal Magic left our world, one of Magic’s favorite clients came for her weekly appointment just hours later. It was important to help her process it and allow for the natural response to loss, especially without having been able to say goodbye. Handlers and providers can model and support these normal expressions of loss with physical, cognitive and psychosocial strategies, as well as provide support plans so those grieving can have the time needed to process and heal. Therapy animals contribute tremendously to the lives of many. Acknowledging the impact of the lives of our therapy animals allows clients – and us – to grieve.

There are many other fantastic speakers as well, and topics covering every aspect of AAI and the human-animal bond. Take a look at the full list of speakers, and review the schedule to find the topics that will help you in your work with therapy animals. This is a fantastic lineup, with someone for everyone interested and involved in AAI!

Enjoy San Antonio

You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy the charms of San Antonio, a beautiful and historic city. Situated on San Antonio’s famed Riverwalk, the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter is the ideal location for the 2019 Pet Partners Conference. After a full day of sessions and networking, you can stretch out in your spacious guest room, enjoy a swim in one of the pools, or experience the energy of downtown San Antonio, right at your doorstep. Make your reservation by August 27 to receive our special conference rate on your room.

Register Now and Join Us!

We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio in September—register today and join us for this outstanding conference opportunity!

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