Amy Johnson

Amy Johnson is a counselor, lecturer, founder, and program director of the non-profit organization, Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together. 


  • A story from the frontline: how a dog can improve therapeutic intervention

    Nov 24, 2009
    Sandy Urkovich is a counselor in Sanibel Island, Florida and a recent graduate of an online animal assisted therapy certificate program. With her clients, Sandy uses her own dogs who have helped not only ameliorate relationships, but often provide a temporary deflection of feelings of pain, or offer a shoulder to cry on. Here is what Sandy has to say about her dog Duke: “Duke came into my life when he was two years old…after being 'forgotten' once the children of his human family were born in his former home in Chicago. I flew him to Florida in 2002 and he has been a very relevant part of our family ever since.
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  • Making Paws-itive Changes in Incarcerated Youth

    Nov 18, 2009
    Those of us who work within the realm of animal assisted therapy often see the effects that an animal can make on a struggling client, patient, student or resident. Animal assisted therapy makes an exceptional adjunct to traditional modes of therapy…even for some of the most challening cases. Angela Sabin Veek, started PAWSitive Changes when she was staff at a youth corrections facility in Oregon. PAWSitive Changes strives to reach youth and dogs in need by pairing incarcerated youth with shelter dogs for the benefit of both. The idea to start the program began she asked the question, “How can you make a youth care about something when they have nothing to lose?”
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  • A horse of a different color: Using equine assisted therapy with those with physical, developmental and emotional needs

    Nov 12, 2009
    Horses have been used therapeutically with those who have physical, developmental and emotional limitations for more than four decades. As very social creatures, horses are often eager to please the humans in their lives. They cannot be easily forced into submission, but rather respond positively to slow, deliberate actions evoking trust. 
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  • Part II: Pets in practice: Can they really be co-therapists?

    Nov 04, 2009
    We allow our ignorance to prevail upon us and make us think we can survive alone, alone in patches, alone in groups, alone in races, even alone in genders. -Maya Angelou, poet (1928- ) As humans, I believe we often give ourselves a little too much credit, believing that only we, the superior species, can be helpful to others. Though anecdotally were hearing more and more stories about pets stepping up and offering a paw and consequently, research is backing this up. It seems we can accept a dogs service for sniffing out bombs or drugs, but thats where the service line is drawn.
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  • Pets in practice: Can they really be co-therapists?

    Oct 28, 2009
    For the 74.8 million dog owners and 88.3 million cat owners in the United States1, the loyalty and love we receive from our pets contributes to lower blood pressure, lower heart rates and decreases in anxiety and stress levels in us. For me, I know that regardless of the frustrations I’ve experienced during the day, watching my three lap dogs round the corner, bounce and twirl to greet me at the door quickly brightens my mood. And days when I could really use a hug, my four-legged children are always happy to oblige. But in a clinical practice setting, could dogs (cats, horses, pocket pets, etc.) bring about those same physiological changes in our clients?
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