Cassandra Lee

Date on Paper


Document Type

Doctoral Paper

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Robertson, Sara

Committee Member

Hall, Lynne

Author's Keywords

service dogs; animal-assisted therapy; psychiatric service dogs; mobility assistance dogs; hearing service dogs


American healthcare is costing more, and patients are living with more complex chronic conditions. For many, alternative therapies such as trained service dogs provide a valuable complement to standard treatments. Many providers are unaware of the role a service dog can play in healthcare outside of visual impairment, as well as contraindications and concerns their use may bring. The use of service dogs is still considered by some to be complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) since it is not a part of usual medical practice and is not commonly taught within conventional medical education. The purpose of this project was to test the feasibility of a newly designed provider-centric evidence-based guide to assist providers in determining which disabled patients would be appropriate candidates for service dog therapy in an outpatient setting. The Service Dog Assessment guide (SDAG) was found to be a quick assessment guide, able to be filled out in under 3 minutes. It gave providers helpful information for decision making and patient teaching regarding appropriateness for service dog therapy. Patients responded well to the assessment process.

Included in

Nursing Commons