What is a Therapy Dog?

Click on the link to view the presentation – What is a Therapy Dog?


Chat Room / Forum – For Therapy Dog Handlers only

This is a place where you can privately chat with other therapy dog handlers.  Although the Principal Investigator (Julie Fagan) will be managing this google doc chat room, neither the ASD families nor the student researchers will have access to the google doc.  To access this google doc chat room, you will need to send your gmail account to ruffloveus@yahoo.com .
The link to the private chat room is:

Chat Room / Forum For ASD Families Only

This is a place where you can privately chat with other ASD family members.  Although the Principal Investigator (Julie Fagan) will be managing this google doc chat room, neither the therapy dog handlers or the student researchers will have access to the google doc. Your gmail acoount is needed to access this google doc chat room. If you have not done so already (and you do not have access to the google doc), please send your gmail address to ruffloveus@yahoo.com .
The link to the private chat room is: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qKnKGfZPCCaHiNv35MCNCNV3jryzeLdNNTYvTX_nPLI/edit

Your own therapy dog

After the study, you may wish to continue getting therapy dog visits or you may be thinking about getting your own 24/7 therapy dog.  We are involved with the group A.I.R. that takes shelter dogs and trains them to work as emotional support dogs to be placed with a family.  Read the article below about their AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds program:  From: http://www.princetonol.com/Groups/polAnnouncements.cfm?doctype_code=NONPRF%20ANNOUNCE&doc_id=7809

Local Advocacy Group Announces AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds – Rescues ‘Throw Away’ Dogs and Transforms Them into ‘Working’ Emotional Support Dogs

October 17, 2012

Attitudes In Reverse (A.I.R.), the nonprofit Plainsboro-based group which strives to promote empathy and understanding of mental illness, has announced the next step in advancing their mission – the AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds program. Through AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds, trained volunteers seek out appropriate dogs through shelters and rescues, and match them with people who would benefit from having an emotional support or therapy dog in their life.

 “We are looking for those bullet-proof dogs,” said A.I.R. co-founder and certified dog-trainer Tricia Baker. Baker was inspired to start the AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds program by the emotional support her own dog Miki the Pomeranian provided her in the wake of the tragedy of her son Kenny’s death by suicide in 2009 after his long battle with anxiety and depression. “I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without that little dog,” she said.

Although newly formed, AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds has already successfully placed two dogs.

Adrienne Carson, an A.I.R. Board Member, and senior dog trainer and behaviorist, discovered Oliver, also known as ‘the other Pomeranian’ in a northern New Jersey shelter and knew he was AIR Dog material. Oliver was teamed up with Stacey Lambros of East Windsor after she met A.I.R. co-founder Kurt Baker at Cranbury Day in Cranbury, N.J.

When Lambros and Oliver met, it was love at first sight. Diagnosed with a mood disorder more than a decade ago, Lambros continues to struggle with anxiety and depression, but she said there has been a profound difference in her life since Oliver came into it. “When I sigh out of anxiety, Oliver licks my face and relaxes me. I’m not so lonely any more. I don’t make friends easily, and I don’t talk to a lot of people. Oliver is showing me a lot of love and that helps me with my anxiety. It’s like a little miracle,” Lambros said.

Shortly after Oliver’s placement, Carson found another shelter gem – Roxie the Frengle, a mix of French Bulldog and Beagle.

Matthew, 10, of Lawrenceville, met Carson at the first annual Miki & Friends Walk & Run for AIR in May at Mercer County Park. Matthew had been asking his parents for a dog ever since he could talk. But Matthew struggles with anxiety, depression and a pervasive developmental disorder, and his parents knew they needed just the right dog for him. Having Roxie has worked magic on Matthew, unleashing a sense of joy in a boy who found little happiness in life, and has opened a window of conversation.  

 “One of the good things for me about having a dog is Roxie gives me something to talk about when I find myself in a social situation. She also helps relax me and helps me get exercise,” Matthew said.

 “So many people have told us how much they depend on their dogs for their mental well-being,” Baker said. “It’s ironic to think that Oliver and Roxie were considered throwaway dogs from a shelter, and so many people with mental illness are considered throwaway people. Our hope is that with more training with Stacey and Oliver, and Matthew and Roxie, we’ll be able to turn them into working service dogs. Then they would be able to take their dogs places like restaurants and hotels, given the same kind of access that service dogs like Seeing Eye dogs may have,” Baker said.

AIR Dogs will also advance A.I.R.’s efforts to educate the community about mental illness and mental health through attendance at community and advocacy group events, as well as collaboration with various mental health agencies.  

Businesses throughout the region are showing their support for AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds with an outpouring of donations. Among the AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds sponsors are Michael Tokiwa, DVM, of  The Animal Hospital at Kingston and Blawenburg, CC Cartier of Maverick Pet Partners, Ashley Rutherford of Curbside Cuts, and Stephanie Kowalewksi of Heavenly Hounds Dog Training School. Baker said she is thankful for their generosity and support, and hopes additional sponsorship will enable AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds to grow and assist more people as they strive for wellness.  .

Teaming up with the nonprofit A.I.R to provide therapy dogs

We are working with Trish Baker of A.I.R. – Attitudes In Reverse to engage handlers with their therapy dogs to help with our research study.  The handler/therapy dog team will come to your house to work with individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes with different personalities, but all of them have been certified.  See Miki in the video below.


AIR Dogs: Paws For Minds
In 2012, A.I.R. began its program providing emotional support dogs and psychiatric service dogs to people in need. AIR Dogs: Paws for Minds. Our hope is to locate really great dogs in shelters and match them up with a human partner who suffers from some mental health issue. Oliver, the Pomeranian, was matched up with Stacey in September. Watch for updates on Oliver and Stacey’s progress as they work together to qualify Oliver as a certified working service dog.
“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.”- Ben Williams

The mission of A.I.R. – Attitudes in Reverse® is to seek to end the stigma of mental illness in society so that those suffering from mental pain can seek the help they need and through that help we will ultimately defeat the only remaining illness with a strong universal stigma. “Start the Conversation to Save a Life.” ® They serve to educate about mental illness, to prevent suicides, but just as important is to educate so that no one is mis-judged or criticized because they have a biological-based brain illness. All people, no matter what their differences, should be treated with respect and kindness.

Company Overview
Attitudes In Reverse® was the primary mission of Everybody Loves Kenny Project, Inc. a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit created after the death of Kenneth Silas Baker. Kenny was a smart, athletic and very much loved young man who suffered for many years from Anxiety and Depression. He lost his struggle on May 19, 2009 when the pain of mental illness took him from us. He was 19 years old. AIR, founded April 26, 2010 by Kenny’s sister, Katelyn Baker, with the concept that Mental Illness is like AIR, just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean is isn’t there. It is all around us. Katelyn won the New Jersey Governor’s Ambassador Award Against Mental Health Stigma in 2010 for her concept.

One of their main goals is to reach high school age students. Schools prepare them for SATs, ACT’s but little discussion takes place about mental health and suicide prevention. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death on college campuses. Schools teach about drugs and addiction, but no one teaches that most drug ABUSE is due to the self-medication of untreated mental health issues.




2012 Touched By An Agency Award/Grant from Merck, as part of their Partnership for Giving campaign.
2012 Garden State Seeds of Hope, presented by New Jersey Monthly Magazine
2011 AKC Humane Fund Award of Canine Excellence (ACE) for Therapy
2011 Dare To Dream Award
2011 NJ Governor’s Ambassador’s Award- Received by La Jolie Salon and Spa
2011 NJ Governor’s Ambassador’s Award- Received by Piscataway High School and Piscataway ROTC
2010 NJ Governor’s Ambassador Award- Received by Katelyn Baker
Contact Info:

US Mail: PO Box 3127, Princeton, New Jersey 08543
Phone (609) 945-3200 (Trish Baker)
Email tricia@AttitudesInReverse.org
Website http://www.AttitudesInReverse.org/
Miki, A.I.R. Awareness Dog’s Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miki-The-Parti-Pomeranian-AIR-Awareness-Dog/108165932612757


Info for Therapy Dog Handlers Only

Please go to the private google doc https://docs.google.com/document/d/1yVfrEiwYjO51gQBDhn-irZUhTrnrbkoTV0m1TcPtQCs/edit

For you (therapy dog handler) to be able to access this, you will need a gmail account and you will need to send it to ruffloveus@yahoo.com so that Dr. Fagan can give you permission to access this document.  Thank You, JF

Here is the link to the online ESCS (Early Social Communication Scales) form which you will fill out during/after each of your sessions (excluding the first meet and greet session).: