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:
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.