DJPPAT - The DJ Professional Pet Assited Therapy Programs April 23, 2014
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Pearl Salotto has been a pioneer for the past 2 decades in an effort to professionalize Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT). With prior careers in Special Education and Social Work, Pearl received her certificate in PAT from Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry, NY in 1987. Pearl's reaction in her first PAT job - to the overwhelming response that her beloved pet DJ, then a one and a half year old Samoyed, brought out in individuals who are lonely and ill - was that every institution in the country needs a full time Pet Assisted Therapy facilitator. With that clear focus in mind, Pearl set up a PAT certificate program at the State University of New York at Brockport, and later in Rhode Island. Maj-En, who joined the family as an eight week old puppy in 1995 and had his PAT debut at a school in Woonsocket in May 1996, became Pearl's best friend and endless inspiration as she persevered into the second decade of this important work. Pearl has worked on many fronts trying to enhance public awareness about the positive impact of pets in all of our lives and about the need to set educational and ethical guidelines and standards, to not only spread programs, but to protect all concerned, the clients and the therapy pets.

Highlights include:

  • Pearl's book Pet Assisted Therapy: A Loving Intervention and an Emerging Profession: Leading to a Friendlier, Healthier, and More Peaceful World.
  • D.J., Maj-En, Panda Girl, and Angel's Accomplishments - D.J., who passed away when she was 13, my 10 year old Samoyed Maj-En, and Panda Girl, my 5 year old Great Pyrenees, have inspired and motivated many people by simply being themselves.
  • The D.J. Pet Assisted Therapy/Service Learning Feinstein High School Program - Pet Assisted Therapy was part of the curriculum at Feinstein High School from 1996 through 2001. Students inspired by the unconditional love of family therapy pets D.J., Maj-En, and Panda Girl, and by the potential of Pet Assisted Therapy to build a friendlier, healthier, and more peaceful world, were given the opportunity to do service learning via Pet Assisted Therapy in area nursing homes and schools. Programs modeled after this one are currently being run in other districts.
  • The D.J. "Respect For Living Things" Program - The D.J. Program is a unique, effective, empathy building, and character development intervention for children of all ages, leading to enhanced self-esteem, personal empowerment and ability to get along with others. This intervention becomes an effective tool against school dropout, bullying, substance abuse, violence, and premature sexual involvement.
  • The D.J. Pet Assisted Therapy University Certificate Program - The future of this profession lies with the university education of Pet Assisted Therapists. For all the eager youngsters entering college wishing to make the world a better place in partnership with a loving animal, and for all those in institutions across this land whose lives can be brightened by a companion animal friend, we must bring Pet Assisted Therapy into Human Service, Allied Health, and Education departments at universities across this country.
  • Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy is a national organization based in Rhode Island which advocates for the profession of PAT.

D.J., born May 8, 1986, having spent 13 years enriching the lives of others, passed away peacefully on July 10, 1999, within the loving arms of her family. If you're interested in joining Maj-En and Panda Girl in carrying out D.J.'s legacy of building a better world for people and animals please support the profession of Pet Assisted Therapy.

Pearl Salotto may be reached at:
285 Natick Avenue, Warwick, RI 02886
401-734-1888
info@djppat.com
For a timely response, phone calls are preferable!