Programs with Children and Youth
Pet Assisted Therapy Programs with Children and Youth
Windwalker Teams provide
professional pet assisted therapy services in a variety of settings. Services vary from visitations to goal directed pro-grams held in schools or agencies. This section is focused on
Wind-walker Teams who offer programs with children and youth.
An assignment for students in the DJ Professional Pet Assisted Therapy Program is to develop a concept of a pet assisted therapy program
that the student would be interested in doing with their therapy pets. As the student and therapy pet begin to work in the community their original concept may further develop or change.
Below are examples of the variety of creative programs offered by Windwalker Teams. In all these programs children have the opportunity to experience Windwalker's guiding principals
that the Therapy Pet is family and is happy to do this work.
Guinevere and Cynthia Vanaudenhove
Paul Cuffee School, Providence and New Hope Baptist Church, Pascoag
Guinevere is a seasoned Therapy Dog. Her Guardian is Cynthia Vanaudenhove, who is also the
Director of the DJ Program. Guinevere and Cynthia offer two programs ("Guinevere's Kids!" ) with children.
Guinevere visits the 3rd grade classroom weekly in the Paul Cuffee Lower School. The overall goal of their program is to
provide ESL learning opportunities; life skills, conflict resolution and healthy social interactions. In addition, special educational opportunities designed for safe and
fun interactions with Guinevere that help teach empathy, healthy friendships, awareness of the needs of others. Through lessons, and by example, they model the DJ
philosophy and ethics that pets are family providing lessons on pet care, understanding body language, family pets well-being, safe interactions, joys and responsibilities
of pets as well as how pets and other animals can enrich our lives.
Guinevere also spends two days per month with the children in the junior church program (ages 6-12) at the New Hope Baptist
Church Cynthia teaches the Bible and Christian values and Guinevere's participation allows for a fun and relaxed environment that fosters childern's
Guinevere at Paul Cuffee School
Guinevere at New Hope Baptist Church School
Tillie and Amy Gaddes
School , North Kingstown
Tillie visits with students in the Teacher's Skills Classroom - one day per month. The goal of Tillie Time is to support
literacy and build communication by creating a safe space for middle school children with special needs (6th to 8th grades) to interact with Tillie.
Tillie loves to do tricks. Amy leads the children in creating and participating in a play called Tillie Joins the Circus.
Tillie shows her new friends the tricks she can do .Tillie LOVES showing off (jumping through a hoop, going through a tunnel, doing high fives). The students write
scenes with their teacher and take different parts in the play. Each time Tillie comes the students read their new scenes to Tillie and get ideas for the next one.
This activity provides academic support to the teacher, gives the students a structured fun reading experience with their cute little furry friend. Students
participate with various communication tools (typing, communication board).
Pickle and Pals
Pickle and Susan Olson
Schools, North Providence
Pickle provides his pet assisted therapy/literacy programs in two North Providence Elementary schools (Stephen Olney (three 1st
grade classes for 4 weeks) and McGuire School (three 2nd grade classes for 6 weeks). Sessions are 45 minutes each. Overall goal is to encourage students to
build their own communication and social skills through their relationship with Pickle in class, and in discussion and writing for him. Through their
interest in Pickle, and discussions about him, they learn how dogs communicate with each other and make friends. Through wanting to know and understand
Pickle they build empathy and respect for others. Learning how to understand "dog speak" helps them to be safe around dogs and to care for their own
pets. Students are given a writing project after each session and then, when Pickle returns, they read their writings to him. Their writings simply describe what
they learn and feel in Pickle's class.
Pickle at McGuire School
Pickle at McGuire School
Clover and Morgan Deschenes, MSW, LICSW
RI Alternative Academy, Pawtucket
Clover works with Morgan at RI Alternative Academy. The Mission of the school is
to serve students in grades 7-12 who struggle in traditional school settings. The school focuses on giving students a fresh start and helping them choose a new
direction. Morgan is the clinical Social Worker who provides counseling sessions to students based on their IEP goals or student needs. Clover visits
once a week. Many students, who may struggle behaviorally and emotionally, spend time with Morgan and Clover individually in Morgan's office. Clover
has her "Pillow Throne" and the students love to sit with her in their counseling sessions.
Clover at RI Alternative Academy
Clover at RI Alternative Academy
Paws to Play
Abbey and Pat Kane
Abbey and Pat visit the after-school program at Ocean State Kitz Club for 1 1/2 hour on a weekly basis. Overall goals are to help middle
school students de-stress after school and assist them to develop their knowledge and treatment of all living things. In the summer Abbey visits the
agency's summer camp for middle school students. Through safe and meaningful play, guided by Pat, Abby gives the students an option to interact with
each other and the pet assisted therapy team rather than their electronic devices. Abby is off leash and the youth interact and play with her. The games
may be "keep away", "fetch", "hide and seek" with her ball, or she guesses who has the ball behind their back. For one
on one experiences Pat and and Abbey teach a young person how to have her stay, come, sit, go around furniture by direction, etc. Often Abbey just
hangs with them.
Abby at Ocean State Kitz Club
Abby at Ocean State Kitz Club
Social Skills Adventures with Gillette
Gillette and Kerri Lanzieri, LICSW
Cranston Elementary Schools
Gillette and Kerri provide their program in Cranston elementary schools where Kerri
is employed as a Social Worker. Overall program goals are to improve quality of life, increase emotional understanding, gain experi-ence in
cooperation, patience and taking responsibility. The program is offered to children (with permission from parents) who are in preschool to fifth
grade, and held in small group sessions. Before the lessons start the students are taught a Social Story developed by Kerri and the structured
sessions are held from one to four times in a month. Gillette helps the students gain an improved attitude toward school.
> November 2023 -Windwalker congratulates Kerri on being named
Social Worker of the Year by National Association of Social Work (NASW)/
Gillette at Cranston Elementary Schools
Teddy and Dr. Stephanie Pinto OTD, OTR/L
Several times a year Teddy assists Dr. Pinto, an Occupational Therapist in in the Cranston
School Department, in her work with children grades K - 5. Overall goal is to improve students' self esteem, reading skills, social
interaction, emotional and sensory, and social engagement and to address student needs such as regulation/sensory regulation, social engagement and
with aids to daily living (ADLS). Teddy's role depends on the age and cognitive skill of the student. Sessions may include an adult reading a
book about dogs and the children taking turns reading to Teddy. In classrooms with children with special needs the children take turns to learn how
to give Teddy a treat, brush him with different brushes, and learning how to pet him. During vacations Dr. Pinto and Teddy offer their program in
Mohr and No. Scituate libraries and Camp Aldersgate.
Adventures with Fred Dog
Freddy and Gina Vessela, LICSW
Central High School in Providence
"Freddy Fridays" has become an important part of the Central
High School community. The overall goal of the program is for Freddy to bring joy as well as stress relief to everyone he meets. He also
helps students learn about non-verbal communication, problem solving skills and social/life skills. He attends breakfast and lunch as
well as visits classrooms. Many students and faculty will visit Fred in his office throughout the day as well. Students will ask for him to
attend special events as well such as graduation. Several students have learned to overcome their fears of dogs through working with Freddy.
> Windwalker invites you to read Providence School Department's newsletter, CONNECTIONS
March 17, 2023 - Staff News - "An interview with Fred Dog" and CONNECTIONS October 4, 2023- Gina Vessella named School Social Worker of
Year by Providence School Department (ppsd Connections newsletter)
> October 2023 - Windwalker congratulates Gina and Fred!
Freddy Fridays at Central High School
Pet Therapy with Harry and Dr. J
Harry and Dr. Janice DeFrances
Southside Elementary Charter School, Providence
Harry's goal is to provide emotional support and
comfort to students, Kindergarten to Grade 5, who are experiencing anxiety or stress. They all know Harry! He is at school five days a
week, getting hugs and giving comfort to any of the students who want or need it. Dr. DeFrances provides Special Education Services in the
school. Harry spends the day in her office and classroom so when students come for services, Harry is there with them.
Peace-Train Professional Pet Therapy
with River and Judy Van Wyck
Ocean Tides, Inc.
River has been teaming up with Judy Van Wyk, since 2018, for pet assisted
therapy work at Ocean Tides, Inc. Ocean Tides is a school and residential treatment program in Narragansett, primarily for boys 13-18
who are adjudicated as delinquent. The overall goals of the program are to help the boys learn, and experience, empathy and how to care
for animals. River and Judy offer 6-week programs focusing on empathy and assisting the boys to learn about the care, love, and
maintenance involved in adopting a dog into our families. Participants also learn about positive, reward-based training and
opportunities for volunteering to help animals. They also bake dog treats and decorate treat bags to hand out to teachers and staff who
have dogs, and in doing this, and other activities, they learn about "paying it forward". River gets lots of pets and butt
scratches, and he loves the boys.
Growing with Grace
with KarRa and Ann Olean
"Growing with Grace" is a Professional Pet Assisted Therapy Program
designed for children and adults with developmental disabilities and cognitive and physical impairments. The primary focus of
the program is to facilitate the development of cognitive skills, communication skills, social skills and choice making skills.
Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy interventions are naturally incorporated into each session.
KarRa and Ann visit the classroom weekly and engage in 1:1 interaction with each
student. Each child has the opportunity to develop a personal therapeutic relationship with KarRa through consistent weekly
Specific individualized goals and strategies for each child are based on their
diagnostic profile, learning style and abilities. The activity and strategies to achieve a goal (i.e., pet, brush, throw a
ball, insert a peg in puzzle board, use a communication device) are based on the diagnostic profile and learning style of the
individual. Primary teaching strategies include direct teaching, modeling, reshaping, visual supports and verbal praise and
learning through having fun with a Therapy Dog.