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Dog Ministry, build on the Canine-Assisted Ministry/Pastoral and Spiritual care model (CAM/PS) 
is a new form of ministry integrating a canine companion directly into a spiritual/pastoral care visit or a group prayer service. The dog's presence helps connect individuals to each other and lift mind and heart to God.

Dog Ministry lies in between animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy. The distinctions between the treatment modality of animal-assisted therapy and mere beneficial interactions with a canine are important to the understanding of dog ministry based the CAM/PS Model. Thus:

Animal-Assisted Activity can be defined as "meet and greet" activity where a patient/resident interacts with the dog in a variety of settings.
For example: visiting a nursing home with your dog.

Animal-Assisted Therapy, on the other hand, is defined as the modality where a canine and owner/handler are part of a treatment plan for a patient/resident. The interactions with the dog are specifically directed to measurable, therapeutic, pre-determined goals set by a professional or a para-professional. For example: brushing the dog to recover arm strength after a stroke, required by a treatment plan.
 

Dog Ministry built on the CAM/PS Model lies in-between because this modality often appears as a simple "meet and greet" activity but the goal of the encounter is spiritual/pastoral care where outcomes are not easily measured or necessarily repeatable in an empirical-scientific way. Hence, this aspect of animal-assisted interventions must be treated as a separate entity.


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Photo by Tom Miller, 2011