Date of Conferral







Michael Plasay


This research addresses the use of canine animals in substance abuse treatment. There is research that addresses the importance of animals regarding therapy and mental illness, as well as research on the comorbidity of severe mental illness and substance abuse disorder. However, there is no research that looks at utilizing canines in substance abuse therapy. The purpose of this research was to examine the utilization of canine animals in rehab for those with substance abuse issues. The theoretical foundation for this study is the theory of contextualism. This theory focuses on humans with animals. To address the gap in research, this quasi-experimental quantitative study looked at two independent variables, presence or absence of a canine during treatment, and gender. The method of data collection was obtaining charts of 130 discharged clients, along with retrieval of data regarding days authorized by insurance for treatment. Information was obtained on the number of days that the client stayed in treatment. There was a comparison of the numbers that created a standardization for treatment. There was not significant difference in the average duration of substance abuse treatment when comparing people who attend treatment with their canine compared to those who do not attend treatment with a canine nor was there a difference between the genders. This research may create positive social change by providing an alternative to substance abuse disorder treatment. Not only will this create a positive environment for the client, but it will also provide them the ability to have comfort in a critical time in their lives. This research shows that canines provide something to mankind that we cannot always provide to one another.