The Tiger Human Animal Therapy Service (Tiger HATS) is a community organization sponsored by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine. It is composed of volunteers from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and interested persons from the Baton Rouge community.
Our program began in November 1991, and we visit facilities in the Baton Rouge area, such as geriatric care facilities, hospitals, libraries, rehab facilities, children’s cancer units and adult psychiatric treatment centers. Volunteers attend each facility on a monthly basis with each visit lasting approximately one hour.
The purpose of our program is to demonstrate the benefits of human-animal interaction through the development and maintenance of community programs. These therapeutic programs enhance our clients’ daily living through interactions with animals whose unconditional acceptance promotes health and well-being. Tiger HATS also encourages an interdisciplinary approach by social and healthcare professionals to human-animal interactions and their benefits. The Animal Assisted Therapy Program provides the opportunity to achieve therapeutic rewards from human to animal bonds through a goal-oriented approach. These goals are set for each individual program.
Volunteers must complete approximately two hours of training, during which they are taught the guidelines of Tiger HATS and protocols of facilities, as well as what to expect in each facility and what is expected of them as volunteers.
All animals are medically screened by a veterinarian utilizing the Tiger HATS health screening form. A current vaccination history of the animal needs to be provided by the attending veterinarian. Tiger HATS animals are also temperament tested by an obedience trainer or a certified evaluator utilizing the Tiger HATS temperament testing form; this test ensures that the animal is suited for the Tiger HATS purpose.