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The purpose of this project was to assess and observe the matching process and to identify the role of an occupational therapist in aiding the evaluation process with potential handlers and assistance dogs. Three sites were explored within California: Canine Support Teams, Canine Companions for Independence, and Guide Dogs for the Blind. Interviews were conducted with twenty-five participants about roles, routines, physical environment, need for an assistance dog, and additional support.

Key findings from this project revealed a need for occupational therapy within the evaluation process and two-week team training. Therapists could aid with adapting learning material, addressing performance patterns, conducting home evaluations, and educating staff about a range of clients who have different disabilities.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2020

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Animal Assisted Therapy, Dogs, Process Assessment, Health Care


Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 23, 2020.


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  4. Lloyd, J.K., Budge, C., Grow, S.L., & Stafford, K. (2016). An investigation of the complexities of successful and unsuccessful guide dog matching and partnerships. Frontiers in Veterinary Science, 3, 1-15.

Occupational Therapy’s Role in Matching Handlers and Assistance Dogs