The domestication of dogs has led us across a very meaningful journey. Around the world, dogs are seen as confidants, family members, and a large part of our social network. Over time, dogs have been recognized for their natural healing ability to perform volunteer work within healthcare and human service environments. In recent times, the human-animal bond is recognized as a legitimate intervention within traditional and n-traditional healthcare, social sciences, and education. While our canine colleagues fulfill equally important volunteer and professional roles, within each realm, the expectations and skill sets for both human and hound are very different. Healthcare and human service providers have a professional responsibility to distinguish their work from volunteer capacities. The series of books titled Professional Applications of Animal Assisted Interventions is meant to initiate a learning experience for those who include dogs in healthcare, human services, and education. The Gray Dog Collection includes critical content found in the previously published Dogwood Doga and Blue Dog Collection such as discussions about screening people for participation, screening dogs for the job, intervention goals, modification of activities, precautions and professional responsibilities. Written by an occupational therapist that also trains dogs, the Gray Dog Collection is a fully illustrated book that describes nearly 50 new activities for participants of all ages and abilities. Readers are taken through activities step by step to identify the therapeutic value, supplies needed, precautions, and modification ideas. Like other books in the series, The Gray Dog Collection offers practitioners and educator's valuable considerations from the canine perspective, and makes recommendations for prerequisite training skill sets, prior to joining in the activity. Activities from over a decade of workshop contents and clinical application are included. Therapists, veterinarians, educators, dogs with intermediate skills, and participants of all ages and abilities have evaluated the activities and found them to be fun, engaging, safe and purposeful.
Melissa Y. Winkle is an occupational therapist, an author, a researcher, and an international workshop presenter in the areas of animal assisted interventions, assistance dogs, and program development. She is President of Dogwood Therapy Services and Animal Assisted Intervention International, Program Coordinator for Animal Humane New Mexico 'Warm Hearts Network', and an assistance dog trainer/instructor for Assistance Dogs of the West.