Our belief is that CARE teams will be best served through development of the theoretical and foundational underpinnings of crisis response; as well as the practical operational demands of deployment and the integration of CARE into a larger coordinated response. This development gives participants the personal resources to respond with competence and confidence in multiple circumstances as part of a well-defined organization. They are fully prepared. At this time, CARE reserves response until there is organized city, state or federal response on the ground that our teams may collaborate with and the environment is stable.

The curriculum designed for our TASA CARE Teams is based on the Animal Assisted Crisis National Response Standards, 2010 with minimal additions and modifications after review of other national program requirements (Pet Partner’s, HOPE, and K-9 Disaster Relief Programs in particular). Teams are not considered for CARE until they have solid experience with general therapy work. Once accepted into the training program all teams must complete all sections of the curriculum.

Training Curriculum

The curriculum is broken into three parts that build upon each other. These include independent online training, in-person classroom training, and in-person field training.

The CARE Manual includes our mission and vision, CARE policies, and a review of crisis response structures and responsibilities at national, state, and local levels. It also links students to the three required certifications they must complete:

Teams are reimbursed once all three certifications are submitted to the CARE Program Director.

Prerequisite: Completion of the online training.

Our one-day in-person training session provides didactic content and case study discussions. Classes are presented by professional experts in each content area.

Didactic content includes:
  1. Program structure, leadership, direction and funding
  2. Program policies, practices and operations support
  3. Disaster / crisis concepts and responses
  4. Active listening, crisis intervention models, and psychological first aid
  5. Situational awareness
  6. Animal handling, stress mitigation and ethics
  7. Confidentiality, handling the press and others seeking information.
  8. Care of the caregiver
  9. Organizing for deployment, the deployment process and debriefing
  10. School specific Critical Incident engagement
  11. Review of first aid bag and CARE equipment
Case studies are experience based and are designed to assure content mastery as applied to practice. They also provide the opportunity for teambuilding.

Prerequisite: Completion of the online certifications and in-person classroom training.

Although our teams are already experienced in providing general therapy they often have not done so in strange, chaotic environments with persons in crisis and in close proximity to other animals on an ongoing basis. The objectives of field training are to build hardiness in our animals, stronger bonds between handler and animal, and collaboration among teams.
  1. Exposure to different modes of transportation
  2. Conditioning to accept unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells; emergency vehicles and protective gear.
  3. Conditioning to a wide range of emotional and behavioral responses.
  4. Conditioning to accept diverse and high density populations.
  5. Conditioning and training to accept unfamiliar animals, increasing their ability to work and relax in their presence even when in very close proximity.