Animal Assisted Therapy

Incorporating a Trained Animal into the Therapeutic Process


Student Counseling and Psychological Services now offers Animal Assisted Therapy services. Our therapy dog, Moose, joined SCPS during the summer of 2015 and is available to work with students by joining individual sessions, group sessions, and through campus outreach events. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions.

Get Mov’in with Moose

Join Moose every Wednesday at 8 am for “Get Mov’in with Moose”…..a 3-mile walk around the Auburn campus. You can find Moose and his handler on the concourse outside the Student Center’s Starbucks. Dr. Moose knows how important exercise is to one’s mental health. You’ll also have the opportunity to pet the softest ears of any dog alive!

Moose is sometimes available for outreach events on campus. If you are interested in scheduling Moose for an event on campus, please call the counseling center at (334) 844-5123 to check for availability.  Request to speak with Dr. Hankes for scheduling opportunities.

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a form of therapy that incorporates a trained animal into the therapeutic process. Student Counseling and Psychological Services offers AAT with a trained dog, Moose, who is certified by Therapy Dogs International. Moose is handled byStudent Counseling and Psychological Services counselors. Participation in AAT may have many benefits, including improved motivation for treatment and improved social and emotional functioning.

How do I sign up to work with Moose?

Moose is available to join sessions for clients at SCPS. If you are interested in having Moose join your counseling session, discuss this interest with your counselor. Together, you and your counselor can decide if adding Moose to your sessions will be beneficial at this time. You will be asked to sign a release before you can have Moose join your counseling sessions. Students under the age of 19 will have to get this release signed by a parent or guardian.

How often can Moose be in sessions?

If you and your counselor determine that AAT would be beneficial, Moose will be able to join your sessions as he is available. Appointments with Moose are booked in advance, but if he isn’t feeling well or is otherwise unavailable, he may not be able to join your session.

Moose is never off leash at SCPS and is kept out of common areas like the lobby. Moose sometimes spends time behind the front desk or in counselor’s offices, so please be aware you may see him as you check in or walk to your counselor’s office. If you have concerns about Moose being at SCPS while you visit, please let our front office staff or your counselor know so we can make every effort to make your visit to SCPS comfortable.

Questions or concerns about AAT with Moose?

Contact Dr. Hankes at (334) 844-5123.