Therapy Dog Bentley

Health Heelers is more than just a therapy animal group. It is a premier, full-service therapy animal organization committed to bringing you an experience rich in quality, expertise and professionalism.

A commitment based in expertise

Health Heelers Founder, Laura Hey, is one of a handful of Animal-Assisted Specialists in the country. Laura blends a career of more than 30 years as a rehabilitation therapist working with people with a diverse range of abilities and challenges, with her degree in Animal-Assisted Therapy earned through a DePaul University partnership in 2001. Her experience in health care affords Laura a first-hand understanding of a facility or agency’s needs, as well as the needs of the patients, clients or residents you serve.

A commitment to ongoing learning

As the field of Animal Assisted Interventions grows, our Founder stays current in its trends and best practices:

  • Laura has attended over 300 education hours at seminars and workshops by leading experts in the fields of animal behavior, cognition, training, and emotion, and Animal-Assisted Interventions

  • Laura is a member of dog training and animal welfare groups and stays current on relevant issues addressed by these and other groups

A commitment to address potential risks upfront to decrease liabilities

There are risks and rewards in bringing live animals into public institutions. Health Heelers proactively implements measures to: 

  • prevent infection and address concerns regarding fears and allergies

  • ensure that each team's credentials are up to date

  • make educated, insightful matches between therapy animals and sites

A commitment to provide the best therapy animal teams (registered therapy animals and their volunteer handlers)

Health Heelers teams are registered with Pet Partners, a leading national therapy animal organization having the most stringent registration requirements. In addition to the Pet Partners evaluation that teams must pass every two years:

  • Health Heelers teams receive program-specific, on-site training, education and support

  • Therapy Animal Team roles in Health Heelers programs are structured and well-defined

  • Handlers must recognize, prevent or eliminate stress that their animal partners may experience

  • Workshop opportunities are available for teams to refresh or increase relevant knowledge and skills

A commitment to serve each facility's specific needs and goals

Having worked in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, nursing homes, mental health and community agencies serving people with special needs, Laura's "inside" knowledge brings a valuable perspective that guides her as she designs and implements programs to meet your needs and interests.

A commitment to ongoing monitoring to preserve continuity and quality

Therapy animal programs are dynamic and fluid!  A program cannot flourish if left unattended. Health Heelers attends to changes as they occur; always keeping your program current, with safety and quality at the forefront. We preserve the continuity of your programs despite changes in staff, relocation of teams or other reasons.

A commitment to assist professionals interested in learning about Animal-Assisted Therapy/Interventions

As a past rehabilitation therapist, Laura has educated numerous counselors, therapists and teachers in the most effective application of Animal-Assisted Interventions. Professionals learn how to apply Animal-Assisted Interventions within the context of their professional role to enhance and expand their effectiveness and services.

We take our commitment to you very seriously and take every measure to ensure success.

To create the most meaningful interactions, maintain safety, and achieve the best outcomes we must be steadfast in each of our commitments. That means we must avoid the temptation to send therapy teams out to places simply upon request. When you contract with Health Heelers you gain access to a wealth or knowledge, expertise and resources in Animal-Assisted Interventions; a level of commitment and service that is unmatched! Program costs vary, as we appreciate the unique needs of each facility or agency, and the individuals that they serve.

Lastly, Health Heelers makes a heartfelt commitment to every therapy animal in our programs to always make their experiences as enjoyable, safe and as free from stress as possible3