Animal-Assisted Crisis Response

It is part of our mission to create a connection with animals that uplifts others in their times of greatest need, when they are experiencing anxiety, loss, loneliness, and uncertainty. Our AACR teams lead with care and compassion, providing an ear to listen, an empathetic shoulder to lean on, and a much-needed light during the darkest days of a crisis.

Therapy animal team on a visit with a man petting the dog on the head.
Dakota the Shepherd
Therapy animal team on a visit with a man petting the dog on the head.
Dakota the Shepherd

What is AACR?

Two active Army servicemen and pictured petting a dog in a Pet Partners vest.AACR is a form of animal-assisted activities (AAA) that provides comfort to those who have been affected by natural, human-caused, or technological disasters. AACR is effective because the safety, familiarity, novelty, and interest in the animal have been found to build rapport with and provide comfort to a person affected by crisis. AACR does not take the place of professional interventions, but offers support in the immediate wake of a crisis through listening, empathy, and sharing the unconditional love of therapy dogs and other therapy animals. 

Examples of Pet Partners AACR Team Deployments Include: 

Spending time with migrant children experiencing long-term separation from their family.
Visiting a school community that recently experienced gun violence as part of the district’s grief support offerings.
Engaging with victims of natural disaster as they navigate reconstruction in the weeks following floods and fires.
Volunteering within local public departments, such as police stations and emergency response headquarters, to provide stress relief to employees like first responders and 911 operators. 

Our teams can participate in AACR training & credentialing after 6 months of active visiting experience.

Many teams choose to participate in AACR programming because of its deep impact during great times of need; it is an opportunity to help neighbors navigate trauma and build back better than ever. This specialized volunteering requires training and credentialing through completion of an online training course that covers psychological first aid concepts and an introduction to the FEMA Incident Command System. All registered Pet Partners species are eligible for AACR credentialing and deployment.

Connect with an AACR Team

The Pet Partners AACR program is built on a “neighbor helping neighbor” model. We believe that people who live in the community are best positioned to understand how to assist their community in the wake of a crisis or disaster. Teams focus on crisis events in their geographical area and our staff manages deployment and scheduling of those teams – both these factors ease the burden on communities or entities experiencing crisis. Additionally, AACR teams receive specialized training and a credential to ensure they are best positioned to navigate traumatic or highly stressful situations.

Request AACR teams
Lunar the mini horse shown with a young girl during an AACR visit.
Lunar the Mini horse