Roseann Bennett has been a family therapist for over 10 years. Initially providing in-home care, she started to see a need to provide continuing outpatient care. Lower-income and otherwise marginalized, patients seemed to especially need that help. As a result, Roseann Bennett and her husband Todd started the Center for Assessment and Treatment in Hackettstown, New Jersey. During her practice experience, she noticed positive results when children interacted with dogs. There was a relationship of unconditional love, Bennett states, that was very important for therapy.
This has led her to start including dogs in her practice. The dog used in the center is named Jack. An extensive training program is required for canines to be considered therapy dogs. This includes 2-week obedience training, which Jack completed July 4, 2018. The dog has also played with the Bennett’s own child. He continues to behave in a docile manner as he continues his training to be trained a Certified Therapy Dog.
Roseann Bennett claims that canine assistance will not be used to replace therapy that is already working, but rather will be utilized to enhance therapy.
According to Roseann Bennett, using a therapy dog makes sense when looking at the long history that dogs have had with humans and the positive effects of those relationships. Dogs have been able to let others know about a person having a seizure, can help when someone is having an anxiety attack, among other abilities. Though more research is needed, studies conducted over the last 35 years have indicated that dogs have a special ability to sense the emotional condition of humans, and that life with dogs provides many health benefits to people as well.