How it all began
On 20 November 2014, Animal Therapies Ltd (ATL) Founder, Wendy Coombe went to work like any other day as a senior manager for a large ASX-listed corporation. However, that afternoon – with no memory of how she got home – her life took a dramatic turn. A critical path for Wendy’s recovery came in the form of an Assistance Dog called Jack.
The wide-reaching therapeutic benefits of animal-assisted services are now well documented, but Wendy’s personal experience identified some major gaps in the sector within Australia.
On 21 February 2018, ATL was incorporated as a Health Promotion Charity with the ACNC with full DGR status.
ATL connects those in need with animal-assisted services that may prevent or help manage disability, illness and suffering. This includes people at risk of, or who are, suffering mental illness, eye disease, hearing impairment, seizures, asthma, life threatening allergies, diabetes, fluctuating blood pressure, cerebral palsy, autism, post-traumatic stress, episodic or serious medical crises, disability, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, stroke, spinal cord injury and other physical, neurological or psychological conditions.
ATL is still young and run by 100% volunteers and we have achieved a lot since our establishment. Until now, there has been no national organisation advancing health, through animal-assisted services as a whole.
In February 2020, we held a very successful National Conference and the feedback from the sector participants is they need ATL to provide leadership and support to grow the sector professionally and ethically to create jobs that meed the mental health needs of Australians.
The sector itself is young and growing strongly backed by a research community and dedicated practitioners but it needs leadership and direction.
Here’s what we’re doing about it
We are currently delivering education and public awareness campaigns on how animal-assisted services can help to prevent and control mental illness, disease, disability and suffering. We have received tremendous support nationally and through the generosity of our donors we have deployed a National Directory of Services for those in need to find a practitioner that incorporates an animal into their practice.
We now need to raise funds to expand our existing services to provide information about training, certification, professional development, jobs and career opportunities for those who want to or who are working in the sector.
ATL is an emerging peak body that is bringing animal-assisted services together under the one roof. It intends to ensure the quality of the sector through the introduction of a common vocabulary, validation, education, and correct classification of services. In doing so, it will provide better understanding, acceptance and accessibility of high quality information and importantly, easy access to vetted local providers who can assist with their condition.
Your support will mean so much
Please support our fund-raising efforts by donating and sharing this page with others who can help.
Even better, become an Animal Therapies Ltd fund-raiser and help us to find the support we need.
Donations are tax deductible.
Sponsors are welcome.