"So, there's a lot more involved than petting a friendly dog."
 
Pet Partners is a national non-profit organization promoting health and wellness benefits of using animal-assisted therapy.
 
From people with disabilities to veterans with PTSD, Pet Partners helps them all through the animal-human bond.
 
"Idaho State recognized that and really welcomed me here with open arms," said Leslie Stewart.
 
Stewart is an associate professor at ISU in the counseling department.
 
Recently, Pet Partners reached out to her to speak on a congressional panel about animal-assisted crisis response.
 
But beyond that, she hopes to use her years of research on animal-assisted therapy, and pass it along to the next generation.
 
"It's my job to recognize what's going on from a relationship perspective between the client and the animal," said Stewart.
 
ISU has become one of the few universities in the nation to offer a certificate course for animal-assisted interventions in counseling.
 
So now, her students are learning about how to team up with dogs and other animals to help others by observing patient-animal interaction.
 
"Counselors have to be excellent at managing relationships, and we have to know a lot about ourselves and relationships. So the animals come in and help our students learn about themselves, and relationships that we may not be able to as human instructors," said Stewart.
 
Taking the term man's best friend to a whole new level.
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