About Chenny Troupe

What We Do: Overview

Chenny Troupe provides interactive, animal-assisted therapy programs to a wide variety of populations. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a goal-directed intervention in which a trained, certified animal (Chenny Troupe uses only dogs in its programs) is an integral part of a rehabilitation or treatment process. Provided by a handler in a program developed with or by health care and human services professionals, AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, emotional and cognitive functions.

Chenny Troupe's organizational goals are to:

  • Enlarge our volunteer pool and donor base to permit us to respond to the myriad of requests we receive for Chenny Troupe animal-assisted therapy programs.
  • Continue to provide animal-assisted therapy programs free of charge.
  • Collect and analyze sufficient empirical data from ongoing programs to prove the successes of current programs and to improve acceptance of animal-assisted therapy in the scientific community.
  • Develop standardized program models allowing Chenny Troupe to share our expertise with other organizations across the country and throughout the world.

Chenny Troupe does not train or provide service dogs or facility dogs. We do not provide obedience training classes or require any special "therapy dog" training. All of our therapy dogs are companion animals who live with their humans and are trained by them. Chenny Troupe requires that all canine volunteers pass a very difficult obedience and temperament test before they can work in one of our programs. The test insures that the dogs are able to work in a group with other dogs, and remain calm in the face of many distractions and difficult situations. Not all dogs, even the most obedient and wonderful pets, are good therapy dogs, and some dogs simply do not like the work!

Many Chenny Troupe clients cannot be reached by traditional forms of therapy, or have lost the motivation they need to continue the long process of rehabilitation. This may the lowest point in their lives. By fostering the unique animal-human bond in a healing, positive environment, Chenny Troupe programs motivate participants to continue to work toward their goals of improved physical and mental health, emotional growth and personal dignity.

Chenny Troupe develops a site-specific program in collaboration with the physicians, psychotherapists, counselors, and rehabilitation therapists on staff at the site so that each program is responsive to the needs of the patient population in the therapeutic environment. Programs are administered by a volunteer leader, who supervises the human volunteers/handlers and their trained and tested animal companions. Before each program session, the leader meets with the therapist in charge to review the specific therapeutic goals for the clients present that evening. This permits the program leader and the therapist to assign activities to the client that will help him or her achieve his or her current goals. It also allows the program leader to assign a dog with the appropriate skills set and temperament to each client.

Chenny Troupe programs are group activities, which for some of our clients, especially those recovering from head injuries, is a challenge in itself. We do not make room visits, except in very limited circumstances and our programs are very active. Most clients enjoy the interaction with the dogs and the volunteers, and because they get immediate positive responses from the dogs, are more willing to continue to work on difficult physical or cognitive tasks. Often, they require less pain medications after participating in Chenny Troupe's programs. Our work is goal oriented, so even if it looks like fun, it really is work for the clients. We don't just make people feel better, we help them get better.