Teams

  • Teams

    Animal Angels Foundation teams consist of all kinds of animal enthusiasts who are interested in Animal Assisted Therapy and who believe in spreading the joy and love of animals to those in need.
    Our teams consist of pet owners who volunteer with their pets, mental /medical health professionals trained as Animal assisted therapists and other volunteers from various fields like IT, business, house wives, media personalities etc.

    Our therapy animals are pets owned by loving families. Not just dogs but cats, birds and fish are also a part of our team. These animals are screened for their health, temperament and personality , after which they get trained along with their owners for therapy visits. These therapy animals then assist mental/medical health professionals as co-therapists or visit special schools and institutes with their owners.

    Animal Angels Foundation function in Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore and is in process to expand to different cities in India.

    Mumbai Volunteer Team

  • Human Resource

    Sneha Shinde – Lonkar
    Fundraising Head.

    Aditi Bodas – Senior Animal Therapist
    Aditi Bodas is our most experienced resource person on the team. She has a masters in Counseling Psychology, and is trained under Minal Kavishwar for 8 years as an Animal Therapist. She is also pursuing training in Play therapy and REBT. At Animal Angels, she manages the programs and volunteer teams in Mumbai and Pune. She and her Therapy dog Ella make a great team.

    Zahra Poonawala
    Zahra Poonawala is the latest to join the team of therapist. She is a Clinical Psychologist who has mostly worked with adults with psychiatric disorders. She has interned with Green Chimney, a renowned organization in US working in the field of AAT and is currently working with Animal Angels on our AAA project. Passionate about animals and creating awareness about mental health, Zahra holds a vision of incorporating horses in her practice. Zahra is currently working in Dubai as an Animal Assisted Therapist.

    Manali Ranadive
    Manali Ranadive is a Clinical Psychologist and working with Animal Angels Foundation as an Animal Therapist and volunteer since the past eight years. She is a trained Forensic Psychologist and has worked in the field of mentoring and counseling children in conflict inflicted areas. She works with Animal Angels along with her co-therapist, Sunshine, a golden retriever. Together, they have worked with children with autism and developmental disabilities and on individual counseling cases. She has a natural connection with animals and excellent with children.

    Tejashree Mujumdar
    Tejashree Mujumdar is a Clinical Psychologist associated with Animal Angels since the past four years. She specializes in working with children with Autism and other developmental disabilities. She is trained in the ABA technique, which she incorporates in working with children, along with animal therapy as a mode of treatment. She is also associated with Sahyadri Hospital, Child Guidance Center, Pune as an Autism expert.

    Shweta Sohoni
    Dr. Shweta Sohoni is a practicing physiotherapist and incorporates therapy animals while working with people with various physical disabilities. She has been associated with Animal Angels since the past eight years and has implemented AAT in various aspects of her field.

    Amit Kelkar
    Amit Kelkar is a Speech and Language Pathologist and is currently perusing his PhD in USA. He has been associated with Animal Angels since its conception. He has trained his buddy Donut, who is a Golden Retriever to be a Therapy Dog. He is also working at an Alzheimer care center where he and his Therapy dog Donut work with the patients.

    Gayatri Ayyer – Senior Animal Therapist
    Gayatri Ayyer is a Counseling Psychologist with training in Play Therapy from University of Missouri, USA. She is has completed her training in Animal Assisted Therapy under Minal Kavishwar and completed the AAT in Counseling course by Dr. Cynthia Chandler, University of North Texas. She is also a passionate teacher and school counselor, working with Sulochana Devi Singhania School, Thane. She lives with her two adopted retrievers, a Labrador – Myshka, who is trained therapy dog and Golden retriever – Nino, who is still under training.

    Jai Bapat – Senior Animal Therapist
    Jai Bapat is a Counseling Psychologist, trained in REBT and CBT. She is an experienced counselor and conducts workshops and trainings on REBT. She has completed her training in Animal Assisted Therapy under Minal Kavishwar and has been working with Animal Angels since 2015. She has worked on AAt projects in special schools, and on individual sessions for AAT in counseling.

    Malavika Lobo – AAT Intern

    Niharika Kolte – Advisor

    Bansari Bandya

  • Therapy Dogs

    • Mumbai

      Kutty

      Work Profile:

      • The senior most therapy dog of the Animal Angels team
      • In-house therapy dog at Jidda School for Mentally retarded children, Thane,  since the past three and half years.
      • Worked as a therapy dog to provide TLC to families of the victims of 7/11 train blast victims.
      • Winner of Delta Society’s Beyond Limit Award 2007.

      Kutty, a golden Labrador, the first therapy dog of India, was a pet of the Bhosle family. Kutty was trained by Minal especially to be a therapy dog since she was four months old.  Kutty stayed with the principal and would come to the school every day with the Principle and work with the children throughout the school hours. Kutty had an amazing capacity to understand these children. She knew her work and her responsibility very well. She was full of love and compassion for these children. She gave them the much needed happiness and brings smiles on their faces.

      She was there when they need a warm hug or just want someone to be there with them. She played with children in wheelchairs, understood the children who could not speak, children with calipers and crutched would hold her leash and walk around the school.

      Therapy dog Kutty and Minal Kavishwar, registered as first Pet Partners from India with Delta Society, USA were awarded the Beyond Limit Award by Delta Society for best practicing professional team. (petpartners.org)

      We lost Kutty in 2013 due to health complications. She was 10 years old and cared for dearly by the Bhosle family till the end. She has brought happiness and has changed the lives of many children. May God bless her soul

      Goldie
      Work Profile:
      • In-house therapy dog for a nine year old autistic boy for 5 months.
      • Companion dog for a BP patient for one year.
      • Volunteer dog for 7/11 blast rehabilitation
      • Visiting therapy dog at Sri Ma Snehadeep, a school for special children in Thane.

      Goldie is a beautiful Golden Retriever female, one of our senior most therapy dog  staying with the Srivastava family. Goldie started her career as an in-house therapy dog for an autistic child. She was instrumental in bringing about a major change in the expression levels and vocabulary of the autistic child. A child who would keep staring out of the window and not interact with anyone started responding to the tail wags of “Spongy” (as they had named her.)

      Later she worked as a companion dog for a busy business woman who was also suffering from high blood pressure. She helped her in de-stressing her life and bringing back the much needed healthy routine. “She is a wonderful companion and has helped me rediscover the lighter side of my life” says Mrs. Chunekar.

      Goldie is now the heart of the Srivastava family. A loving pet to the 2 children in the house she is under the able care of Mrs. Srivastava who says that Goldie is just like her third child. Goldie now volunteers as a visiting therapy dog for children with special needs.

      Pepe
      Work Profile:

      • Individual session with children with various developmental disabilities
      • Visiting therapy dog at Academy  of  Learning  and  Development

      Pepe is a second generation therapy dog from the Animal Angels squad. She is from the litter of two of our most experienced therapy dogs Scott and Kiara. Pepe has inherited her calm temperament from her father Scott and her ability to initiate interaction from her mother Kiara. She is trained to be a therapy dog by Aakash and Minal since she is 3 month old. Pepe is now a part of the Lonkar family and closely works with Aakash Lonkar in a variety of settings.

      Pepe loves to interact with children and has proved to be an excellent therapy dog in group sessions. Pepe loves to play with soft toys and like to watch birds from the balcony in her free time.

      Aekon
      Work Profile:
      • Therapy dog at Mookdhwani school for hearing and speech impaired
      • Visiting therapy dog for patients with Cerebral Palsy

      Aekon, is chocolate Labrador who works as a co-therapist with Dr. Shweta Sohini. He is very playful, attentive friendly. He’s a member of Shah family from Vile Parle, Mumbai.

      Aekon loves the ball, he loves to fetch no matter how many time the kids make him run. He is the reason children at Mookdhwani school for hearing and speech impaired children want to communicate and talk.

      Aekon assists our volunteer Dr. Shweta Sohini who is a physiotherapist working with children with hearing and speech impairment at Mookdhwani school in Vile Parle, Mumbai.

      Heidi / Tootsi

      Therapy dogs Hiedi is a beautiful Goldern Retriever and Therapy dog Tootsi is a loving and friendly Cocker Spaniel. Both of them are a part of the Kalawar family in Thane and both of them are volunteers with Animal Angels.

      Therapy dog Heidi was a part of our team which conducted a visiting program for the Mumbai Railway Police after the 26/11 terror attacks. Her soft golden fur helped most of them to overcome the sadness of losing their colleges in the attack.

      Onit
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting Therapy dog

      Mr. Vishal Thakkar and his one year old ST. Bernard Onit form the newest owner-therapy dog team of Animal Angels. Onit is a very adorable and huggable young dog, who has an excellent temperament. He is trained by volunteers Aakash and Manasi to work with Animal Angels in various settings.

      Recently he along with Therapy dog Glodie assisted therapists and volunteers for an awareness program on AAT for post trauma stress.

      Shadow
      Age: 11 months
      Work Profile:
      • Assists on demonstrations of effect of animals on emotional wellbeing.
      • Animal Assisted Activities for Preschool Group at Jack -n-Jill nursery.

      The young member of the Animal Angels Junior Squad, Shadow has proven himself to be a very promising therapy dog candidate.

      At the age of 2 months he has done a wonderful job a the Animal Assisted Activity at the Jack-n-Jill nursery where the program ‘Introduction to Animals’ was conducted for the pre school children.

      A naught member of the Joshi family, Shadow came with a mission to make everyone around him laugh and smile.

      We lost our beloved Shadow on 23rd October 2007. This is an irreparable loss for all of us. Through out his life he fulfilled his mission of making everyone around him SMILE.

      May his soul rest in peace.


      Coco
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting therapy dog for Sapling special school, Mumbai

      Coco is a bundle of happiness and the lifeline for Atul and Meghana Loke.  Trained as a pup to be a therapy dog by Aakash Lonkar, Coco is proved to be more than just a house pet. He is extremely attached to Meghana Loke and few years back when she developed  a severe back pain which made her take the bed for months, Coco was the one who figured out a way to warn her of the onset of the pain attacks. He was the sole reason for Meghana to push through the pain and walk him at least once a day, which helped her recover faster. He gave her the strength and confidence to hold her first exhibition in 10 years at the Kala Ghoda festival.

      Coco has also been a visiting therapy dog at various programs like the ‘Tails of Joy’ program at Crossword book stores. He was also the visiting therapy dog for the pilot program at David Sassoon Juvenile Delinquent center. In just 10 sessions the children got so attached to Coco that they were willing to change their behavior just to be able to meet Coco.

      Oscar
      Work Profile:

      • Reading buddy for Animal assisted reading sessions

      Oscar is a Golden Retriever who loves books. He is our ‘reading buddy’ for the Tails of Joy program. He and his handler Tanushree Banerjee make a wonderful team for the reading programs.

      Oscar has volunteered for the reading programs at Crossword book stores and is favorite among children.

    • Pune

      Sophie
      Work Profile:

      • In house therapy dog for the autistic children at Prasanna Autism Center

      Sophie is Animal Angels’s first therapy dog in Pune. Sophie was trained to be a therapy dog for the autistic children and currently works at the Prasanna Autism Center. A loving pet of the Godbole family Sophie is now an integral part of the children at Prasanna Autism Center.

      It was the initiative of Mrs. Padmaja Godbole, Founder of Prasanna Autism Center, to have an in-house Therapy Animal in the school for the children. Sophie is sensitive and responsive to the emotional needs of the autistic children. Many children who were not at all communicative or interactive have developed a close bond with Sophie. They may not be able to speak or communicate with others but when they come to the school they will call out for ‘Chopie’.

      Sophie gave birth to 9 health puppies on 25th December 2007. One of her pup, Naughty was trained as an in house therapy dog for Manavya AIDS orphanage.

      Ella
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting Therapy dog at Bal Kalyan Sanstha and Anugraha rehabilitation centre.

      Ella is a female Labrador and a constant companion to Aditi Bodas. 3 years back when Aditi had an episode of depression, Ella was given to her to be her companion/therapy dog. Ella helped her find a reason to smile with her crazy tail wags and bouncy jumps. “If Ella could be happy all the time, why can’t I try?” This was the thought that helped Aditi come out of negativity. Ella’s favorite activity is to play ball, collect empty bottles and chew on dry coconuts.

      Aditi and Ella, both are now volunteers with Animal Angels. Aditi is perusing her graduation in Psychology and has done a course on Animal Assisted Therapy with Animal Angels. Ella works as a visiting therapy dog at Bal Kalyan Sanstha, with children with visual impairment and mental retardation. Her second generation is also helping people heal. One of her pup Shadow worked as a visiting therapy dog for Anugraha rehabilitation and her other pup Eliza was given as a in house companion dog at Athashree residential home for the senior citizen.

      Shadow Jr.
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting Therapy dog at Anugraha  Rehabilitation  Center

      Shadow Junior is the second generation of therapy dogs. He is one of the pup of Therapy dog Ella, born in March 2008. Shadow is now a family member of the Nanivdekar family. He is a very promising young dog, who has inherited the calm temperament of his mother Ella.

      Shadow visits Anugraha  Rehabilitation  Center, which is a special-need section of Ankur Vidya Mandir in Pune. Shadow has continued the therapy program where earlier his mother Ella used to work. The children instantly took on to this new vibrant pup who has been instrumental in bringing about positive changes in them.

      We lost Shadow a few years back due to health complications. May his soul rest in peace

      Mimi
      Work Profile:

      Mimi is a gorgeous Golden Retriever and a member of the Bhattacharya family in Pune. She is a very gentle, compassionate and loving dog. She is very attached to Suhani, daughter of Mr and Mrs Bhattacharya. Her compassionate eyes are the most striking feature when you meet her.

      Mimi is a visiting therapy dog for Orchid School in Pune. Mimi, along with Mr and Mrs Bhattacharya visit the Orchid school once a week where Mimi works with children with different disabilities.

      Every week the children look forward for a session with Mimi and have made tremendous improvement since Mimi has come into their lives. For a child with speech problems, Mimi was the one who did not laugh at his speech deficits and encouraged him to improve those difficulties. For an autistic girl, Mimi became her tutor and sat patiently near the black board as the girl learned to write. Such was the effect of Mimi on the lives of the children.

      Rex
      Work Profile:
      • Visiting therapy dog at Sindhu Vidyalay, special school and Bal Kalyan Sanstha
      • Therapy dog at Orchid school, resource room

      Rex is old handsome Golden Retriever and a member of the Iyengar family in Pune. He is very obedient but a naughty dog. He loves to play football with Mr. Iyengar and the kids and is extremely fond of cakes. His golden coat is his most beautiful and striking feature.

      Rex is a visiting therapy dog for schools like Sindhu Vidyala and Bal Kalyan Sanstha. Rex and Animal Angels Volunteer Jhumki Iyengar bring great joy and loads of smiles to the disabled children at these schools. Rex worked as a co-therapist with psychologist Minal and Tejashree at Orchid school resource room where he worked with children with autism, speech problems and other disabilities. His owner, Jhumki Iyengar says “We are very happy that Rex is doing this work. He has made us proud parents”

      Crunk
      Work Profile:

      • Reading Buddy for Animal Assisted Reading sessions

      Crunk is a big, brown Labrador owned by the Chaterjee family. He is a very handsome and obedient dog. Despite his big appearance he is extremely gentle and loving with children.

      Krunk is a Reading Buddy who listens to stories read out to him by kids. He assists the volunteers of Animal Angels to conduct Animal Assisted Reading sessions in British Library and Jungle book library in Pune.

      Krunk and Kiara (a lovely female Golden Retriever) both dogs belonging Mrs. Rakhi Chaterjee volunteer with Animal Angels and help us spread smiles.

      Kiara
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting therapy dog

      Kiara is the youngest member of the Chaterjee family. She and her pal Krunk are both volunteers as therapy dogs with Animal Angels. She is extremely mischievous but affectionate little pup.

      Kiara is a beautiful retriever with an in born quality of sensing and fulfilling the emotional need in a person. She sits near you in such a way that you are bound to hug her or put your arm around her. Kiara is a dog with special qualities needed to work with hospitalized patients and Cancer Patients. She was the first dog to be allowed in a hospital for Cancer Patients. She demonstrated the benefit of AAT for Cancer Patients at the Ruby Hall Cancer Center Pune.

      She was also the center of attraction at a program conducted by Cancer Patients Aid Association for women Cancer Patients on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

      Three of Kiara’s pups with Scott are now working as therapy dogs. Pepe, Houdini and Thele are all working in different areas of Animal Therapy.

      Scotty
      Work Profile:

      • Works as a co-therapist with Minal Kavishwar for individual sessions
      • Visiting therapy dog at Orchid school
      • Therapy dog for KEM’s AAT in hospital program
      • Visiting therapy dog at SAA

      Scotty is an adorable male Golden Retriever who volunteers with his owner Mrs. Sonali Ogale. Scotty is one of our senior most and very experienced therapy dogs from Pune. Scotty is experienced in working with children with developmental disabilities and hospital set up.

      His vivacious personality has helped autistic children to come out of their inner world. He is extremely gentle and patient with kids. His presence serves as a motivation for special children to work towards personal and academic goals. He loves to sit near the blackboard and assist children to learn along with his co-therapist Minal Kavishwar and Tejashree Mujumdar.

      Scotty is the first Therapy dog in India to be allowed to work in a hospital set up along with other doctors and professionals. Scotty was the therapy dog who worked with Minal Kavishwar and team on India’s first AAT program in a hospital set up at KEM Hospital Pune. Scotty closely worked with the psychologists, play therapist and physiotherapist and psychiatrist at the KEM Hospital.

      Scotty has also worked with patients recovering from psychiatric disorders at Schizophrenia Awareness Association. His calm and friendly presence helped many of patients to open up and feel confidant.

      Misty
      Work Profile:

      • Reading Buddy for Animal Assisted Reading sessions

      Misty is a female Labrador retriever and a member of the Hulikavi family. She volunteers for Animal Angels with her owner Ira Hulikavi. Together they have a great rapport and work as a team on our Animal Assisted Reading sessions. She has been a Reading Buddy at different schools in Pune under our Times of India – NIE reading programs. She has also been a part of various educational and interactive programs that we conduct for school children.

      Misty has a great temperament and is a very promising therapy dog. You can’t pass her without getting a smile on your face.

      Geanie
      Work Profile:
      • Reading Buddy for Animal Assisted Reading sessions
      • Visiting therapy dog.

      Genie is cute little female pug who is the darling of Gandhi family. She volunteers along with her owner Minal Gandhi as a visiting therapy dog. Her small size and friendly temperament also makes her an ideal reading buddy for young kids. Her frisky and bubbly personality has helped a child with Down’s syndrome who was not able to walk, to take is very first steps. She has also been a reading buddy at our Tails of Joy sessions at British Library and Kalmadi school.


      Balboa
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting therapy dog at Bal Kalyan Sanstha

      Balboa is a handsome and boisterous Labrador belonging to the Joshi family. He was named by Shonita Joshi after famous film character Rocky Balboa because of his high spirited attitude. Balboa is very naughty and as a pup has destroyed many valuable things including Shonita’s mobile.

      But the moment Shonita’s bike (Balboa rides the bike with Shonita) turns inside the gates of Bal Kalyan Sanstha, all his energy is channelized towards playing with the children disabilities. He loves to play football and is very skillful when it comes to playing with special children. He knows a way to communicate with them and children respond to him. Volunteer Shonita and Balboa are surely a wonderful therapy team.

      Gazzo

      Gazzo is a male Cocker Spaniel and the youngest member of the Shah family. He volunteers as a Reading buddy for our Animal Assisted Reading sessions with his owner, Anisha Shah. He loves to be around kids and his is a truly entertaining character.

      Houdini and Thele

      Houdini and Thele are from the litter of Kiara and Scott. Houdini, true to her name is a mischievous little girl, but equally soft hearted and loving. She has her mother’s temperament and has time and again proved to be an excellent therapy dog. She works with Minal Kavishwar on individual cases and also visits the children at Bal Kalyan Sanstha.

      Thele is a handsome young retriever, just like his father, Scott. He has the sweetest temperament and visits along with his sister Houdini at Bal Kalyan Sanstha.

      Both of them stay with their mom Kiara and Uncle Krunk with the Chatterjee Family.

      Pepsi
      Work Profile:

      • Reading buddy for Tails of Joy sessions

      Kiki
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting therapy dog at Anugraha rehabilitation centre.

      Pepsi and Kiki are two adorable female Labrador retrievers belonging to Mrs. Smita Deshpande. Mrs. Deshpande is truly dedicated to the cause of spreading the healing power of her pets and has raised both of them specifically to become therapy dogs.

      They both are very loving but have two distinct personalities. Kiki is vibrant and playful, ideal for therapy sessions with people who need stimulation. Whereas Pepsi is calm and docile, she loves to settle down by you where you can keep on petting her. She is an ideal reading buddy and a companion dog for children with special needs.

      Kiki has been a visiting dog at Anugraha rehabilitation centre and Pepsi volunteers as a reading buddy for school sessions.

      Tyson
      Work Profile:

      • Visiting Therapy dog for Manavya Foundation

      Tyson is a 5 year old male Boxer owned by the Date family. Mrs. Sushma Date, a pediatrician, volunteers for Animal Angels along with Tyson.

      Tyson is a very handsome dog, and a mad but loving mutt as Mrs. Date says. He is extremely gentle and loving with children. He loves to go on a trek with his family, run about on the lush green fields and swim in the lake.

      Naughty
      Work Profile:

      • In house therapy dog at Manavya Foundation

      Naughty is a Labrador mix pup. He is one of the pup of Therapy dog Sophie. Naughty was chosen to be an in house therapy dog for Manavya orphanage for HIV +ve children. True to his name, Naughty had enough enthusiasm to play and run around with 50 odd children at Manavya. Naughty proved to be a constant companion for the 50 children at Manavya who stay away from the city and most of them have never seen their family.

      Naughty now stays with Ms. Reena Jinwala and her daughters. As a pup Reena had taken care of Naughty and has now adopted him. Though he had to be shifted from Manavya to the Jinwala family, he has become a part of the lives of the children at Manavya and they still miss him.

       

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Collaboration between Animal Angels Foundation and Dr. Cynthia Chandler, Center of Animal Assisted Therapy, USA

For the past three years, Mrs. Kavishwar has been conducting India’s only comprehensive course in Animal Assisted Therapy, through the Animal Angels Therapy Center, and for the past two years, thanks to a tie-up with Dr. Chandler, has made Dr. Chandler’s renowned book, “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling”, an official part of her course as well. Now, Mrs. Minal Kavishwar and her team at the Animal Angels Foundation have been selected by Dr. Chandler to be a part of a documentary film that she is making on five prominent people working in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy across the world. This is a great honor for the entire team and especially for Mrs. Kavishwar. With her visit to India, Dr. Candler and Minal Kavishwar would be collaborating further on creating training opportunities and providing global platform for people in India to learn Animal Assisted Therapy.  Currently Dr. Chandler offers a home study program under the University of North Texas in AAT in Counseling and Mrs. Kavishwar conducts her own course in basic and advanced training in Animal Assisted Therapy in India. Mrs. Kavishwar, as a part of her collaboration with Dr. Chandler also trains students in the practical implementation of AAT in the Indian setting and provides them internship opportunities with Animal Angels Foundation.

Dr. Chandler’s Visit to India

Dr. Cynthia Kay Chandler, a renowned Counselor and AAT (Animal Assisted Therapy) practitioner from University of North Texas, US visited India last week. Animal Angels Foundation was the official host while she was visiting India.  Dr. Chandler was visiting India to film an interview with the founder of Animal Angels Foundation, Mrs. Minal Kavishwar, a pioneer in the field of Human Animal Interaction and instrumental in introducing the field of Animal Assisted Therapy in India. Dr. Chandler was visiting India to shoot an interview as a part of her ongoing documentary on AAT practitioners around the world applying AAT in various settings.  While in India, Animal Angels Foundation had organized two workshops by Dr. Chandler for mental health professionals and students along with the heads of the institutes who have implemented AAT in India. It was an open idea sharing platform with the vision of creating an opportunity for AAT practitioners from India to share their experiences with AAT practitioners from abroad. The workshop was held at on the 14th of March 2015 at Balkalyan Sanstha, Pune (India’s one and only recreational center for children with disabilities)  and on 18th of March 2015 at Academy of Learning and Development in Andheri, Mumbai (which is a school for children with  developmental disabilities and brain related injuries, run by Arti Deo and Ajinkya Deo). The workshop was attended by heads of various special schools and institutes, students of Minal Kavishwar and Dr. Chandler from Mumbi, Pune and Bangalore and various patrons of Animal Angels Foundation including India representative of Waltham Research Center UK, Mr.Umesh Kallahalli. Dr. Chandler and Mrs. Minal Kavishwar have been associated with one another for the past twelve years. Dr. Chandler has been a mentor to Mrs. Kavishwar and has been instrumental in the growth of the Animal Angels Foundation.

Animal Angels at HAI, Green Chimney, NY

Green Chimney, a residential center for children with emotional instability, set up on a farm housing various farm animals. The Green Chimney hosts a Human-Animal-Interaction(HAI) conference every year to facilitate the well-being of humans and animals in a programmatic context.  Our team from Animal Angels was the only representative from India, along with 30 other representatives from all over the world.  Attending such conferences and learning about new experiences is what makes us good and efficient with Animal Assisted Therapy(AAT).

Animal Angels represented in International Conferences

Minal Kavishwar, Founder of Animal Angels was invited to speak at the HAI workshop conducted by National Institute of Health (NIH), USA and Waltham on ‘Settings where AAT takes place – considerations and challenges. Mrs. Kavishwar was the first speaker from India to speak at the NIH and present about the work Animal Angels has been doing in India.  She said, “With so many great minds sharing and discussing the future of research and practice in AAT, it was an honour to present at the NIH and privilege to be amongst the best in the field.”

Therapy Dogs Paint the town Pink!

Our team of therapy dogs and volunteers ran the Pune Pinkathon in aid of breast cancer awareness on 16th of November, 2014. It feels great to be associated with such an important cause and it was overwhelming to see the positive response we got. We are grateful for the love and support we got from Milind Soman, Sonali Ogale and team Pinkathon for the opportunity to spread awareness about Animal Assisted Therapy in rehabilitative set-ups.  Pinkathon is a 10 kms International Run only for women. The objective of the event is to encourage women’s health and fitness. Pinkathon also aims to raise awareness about breast cancer, its causes and prevention. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths amongst women worldwide, in spite of it being one of the curable cancers if detected early.

Therapy Dogs at ‘Running Beyond Myself’

Second great year of participating in the 'Running Beyond Myself' Marathon, sponsored by Royal Canin and Union Bank of India.Our Therapy Dogs - Chiquita, Steffy, Oscar, Scotty and Hulk, along with the team, did the 3k walk and encouraged marathoners finishing their run, cheering them encouraging them and promoting the health benefits of walking with a pet. We were also the NGO partner for Pune Running.  Pune Running is a non-profit organization dedicated to health and fitness, we encourage, motivate and train people to take on running and in that, long distance – Marathon running. All this is done on a voluntary basis with no financial profit motive at all. All the programs are open to public.

AAT conducted at Schizophrenia Awareness Association

The team of Animal Angels, along with Caregivers Link conducted a session at Schizophrenia Awareness Association(SAA). Therapy dog Scotty was the star of the even and Scotty, not just brought smiles to the caregivers and care receivers but also helped them build a positive memories that they could harness during tough times. SAA tries to create public awareness and understanding about mental disorders in general and schizophrenia in particular, to inculcate confidence in and practice of self-help amongst families afflicted with mental illnesses, to provide facilities for vocational training with an aim of economic and social rehabilitation of people afflicted with mental disorders.

‘Tails of Joy’ at Pagdandi – Books Chai Cafe

'Tails of Joy'! An Animal Assisted Reading program was held for kids and adults. Participants could read out their favourite stories to our four-legged friends. Starting from 22nd August, this event was conducted every friday evening at Pagdandi - Books Chai Cafe. The event was exceptionally well received with all the participants responding ecstatically. “Tails of Joy” is our Animal Assisted Reading program to enhance literacy skills and to encourage the joys of reading through interaction with trained animals. This program intends to enrich the literacy skills of children in an effective and interesting manner. Animals are ideal reading companions because unlike peers, animals are attentive listeners; they don’t judge or criticize, so children are more comfortable and inclined to forget about their own fears. Children with low self esteem are often more willing to interact with an animal than other people. Further during such interactions, they forget their limitations. It is seen that children find reading to an animal less intimidating and transforms formerly dreaded reading events into a positive experience.

AAT at Vasant Vihar Scpecial School, Thane

The children with special needs at the Vasant Vihar Special School in Thane had Therapy dogs Goldie and Therapy dog Sunshine, visit them every week to provide them Animal Assisted Therapy. Our therapy dogs along with our therapists worked closely with the special educator in addressing issues like hyperactivity, shyness, lack of stimulation, mobility and motor issues and need for expression in these children. Therapy dogs Goldie and  Sunshine were instrumental in bringing about remarkable changes in these children in just a matter of weeks.

Summer workshop with pets

A 2-hour fun filled workshop was organised in which, participants could play, pool, fetch and long walks on a cool summer evening. This event was conducted at Petsitters, Hinjewadi Pune, twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, throughout the summer.

Our team of volunteers knows the importance of sharing the joy and companionship of their pets with those in need. They visit various institutes and settings with our Therapy Dogs with the purpose of spreading joy and bringing about smiles on people’s faces. These visits come under the category of Animal Assisted Activity, which are not goal oriented or documented. We visit places like orphanages, old age homes, pediatric Cancer Centers, nursery schools, libraries etc.

Academy of Learning and Development experiences AAT

 

Innovative ways of learning with pets were discovered at the Academy of Learning and Development when they had a unique therapist visit the children every week. Therapy dog Pepe, one of our senior therapy dog along with our team of therapists visited the children every week to provide them Animal Assisted Therapy. Her job at the center was to work with the children with various disabilities like CP, Autism, mental retardation and provide them sensory and mental stimulation. With such enthusiasm and motivation provided by Therapy Dog Pepe, the children who were hyperactive learned to calm down, the ones who had difficulty in walking too their first steps, the once who had flat affect actually smiled! The presence of Therapy dog Pepe had truly transformed their lives. (watch video here) The Academy of Learning and Development was established by Mr Ajinkya Deo and Mrs. Arti Deo  runs on is the belief that stimulating the brain with increased intensity, frequency and duration will help the child move towards achieving his or her fullest potential. They attempt to address the root cause of a disability (i.e. the brain injury) rather than the symptoms.

Animal Assisted Therapy fit in perfectly with this principle. With the therapy dog Pepe (Golden Retriever) being a package providing sensory and metal stimulation, the child gets to experience various sensations and also an opportunity to exercise his abilities.

Therapy Dog Sunshine’s first visit

  Therapy dog Sunshine, a one year old Golden Retriever and our youngest in-training therapy dog, conducted her first ever session with a special child at BalKalyan Sanstha,Pune. The child with cerebral palsy quickly bonded with Sunshine and learned to grasp a grooming brush, despite his motor issues.  Therapy dog Sunshine is a second generation therapy dog, trained and raised by team Animal Angels. She will not be working as a co-therapist with our Mumbai team.    

Internship @ Animal Angels Foundation (Symbiosys Univ, TISS Mumbai, Christ College Bangalore, University of Delhi)

Every academic year, we have interns from various Universities and colleges from across India, who visit our centers in Mumbai and Pune, to study / conduct a research, about Animal Assisted Therapy and Human Animal Bond. We have a regular flow of interns / students coming in from Christ University, Bangalore, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, Symbiosys University, Pune, SNDT University, Pune.

AAT courses and training by Minal Kavishwar in association with Dr. Cynthia Chandler, Center of Animal Assisted Therapy, University of North Texas, USA

For the past three years, Mrs. Kavishwar has been conducting India’s only comprehensive course in Animal Assisted Therapy, through the Animal Angels Therapy Center, and for the past two years, thanks to a tie-up with Dr. Chandler, has made Dr. Chandler’s renowned book, “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling”, an official part of her course as well. Now, Mrs. Minal Kavishwar and her team at the Animal Angels Foundation have been selected by Dr. Chandler to be a part of a documentary film that she is making on five prominent people working in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy across the world. This is a great honor for the entire team and especially for Mrs. Kavishwar. With her visit to India, Dr. Candler and Minal Kavishwar would be collaborating further on creating training opportunities and providing global platform for people in India to learn Animal Assisted Therapy. Currently Dr. Chandler offers a home study program under the University of North Texas in AAT in Counseling and Mrs. Kavishwar conducts her own course in basic and advanced training in Animal Assisted Therapy in India. Mrs. Kavishwar, as a part of her collaboration with Dr. Chandler also trains students in the practical implementation of AAT in the Indian setting and provides them internship opportunities with Animal Angels Foundation.

Bravehearts Award for our therapy dogs team

Bombay Veterinary College Mumbai, hosted an event called Bravehearts, to felicitate and award prominent working dogs in Mumbai. Our team of therapy dogs Sunshine, Pepe, Coco and Goldie were felicitated by the BVC to honor the exemplary work that they do for the benefit of the society. Each therapy dog was given a medal, a memento and a goodie basket. It was a proud moment for our team and the pet parents to see our dogs being honoured. Read the blog by Goldie http://goldiecares.blogspot.in/2016/04/v-behaviorurldefaultvmlo.html?m=1

Aakash Lonkar presents at TedX platform 15 Oct 2016

It's always an honor when you get a chance to walk up on the TedXplatform and present your ideas to the world. Our Director, Mr Aakash Lonkar was invited to present at TedX Raigad where he presented, probably the first ever talk on Human Animal relationship at a TedX platform in India. Mr. Aakash presented on the importance of animals in dealing with lifestyle diseases. Sneha Lonkar and Therapy dog Pepe represented our team Animal Angels. [embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AETdMK3XzL4[/embedyt]

Loksatta – Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada

    Loksatta, India’s leading Marathi newspaper, hosted an initiative, where they featured various social causes for the 10 days of the Ganesha Festival and urged their readers to donate towards these causes. Animal Angels Foundation was one of the social causes featured in their article on the 19th of September 2016. Following the article we saw a massive amount of donations and words of appreciation towards our work. We thank Loksatta and its readers for showing faith in our work and donating so generously towards our initiatives. Our representative, Mr Aakash Lonkar, was felicitated and gifted a framed copy of the article, along with the donations, by well known Marathi actor, Makarand Anajpure, at an event hosted by Loksatta. Click here to read the article in Loksatta

Comforting Angels at Mumbai International Airport!

Animal Angels Comforting Angels at Mumbai International Airport!  We at Animal Angels are happy announce our latest project with you. In a first-of-its-kind in Asia, GVK CSIA (Chatrapati Shivaji International Airport, Mumbai) has initiated a pilot program called “Comforting Angels”, a pet therapy program in partnership with the Pune-based Animal Angels Therapy Centre at the iconic Terminal 2 in Mumbai. These wagging “Comforting Angels” are employed to soothe, comfort and de-stress passengers inside the departure terminal.  

Animal Angels Therapy Centre, the consultation branch of Animal Angels Foundation, headed by Aakash Lonkar and Minal Kavishwar,  manages this project is proud to be associated with GVK CSIA to brings such simple joys to passengers. The program has been a success at the airport and the passengers have been extremely appreciative of this ongoing adorable experience.  

Animal Angels Comforting Angels at Mumbai International Airport!  
High stress and high anxiety are quite common for travelers. In efforts to ease that stress, airports have tried everything from gourmet coffee shops to lounges to massage rooms. But GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) is trying something new.  



GVK CSIA is always making efforts to make their passengers experience at the airport seamless and comforting. Understanding that passengers bound for international travel experience anxiety, stress, loneliness sometimes coupled with exhaustion, insomnia or jet lag. Scientific studies show that petting a dog is an effective way to reduce stress and anxiety. Frazzled passengers dealing with delays, missed flights, and gate changes are given the opportunity to do just that when they encounter the “Comforting Angels” patrol.  

Animal Angels Comforting Angels at Mumbai International Airport!  
The pilot project which has been initiated by the three trained Golden Retrievers; Therapy dogs Pepe, Goldie and Sunshine, at the GVK Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) mean strict business when in contact with passengers.  Dressed in jackets that say “Pet Me”, the squad approaches passengers to be petted and cuddled. It’s hard to think of an excuse to ignore this squad of four legged adorable bundle of joy.

Animal Assisted Activity at Ruby Hall Cancer center

To mark the World Cancer day which comes on the 4th of February, Animal Angels Foundation conducted an animal assisted visiting session at Ruby Hall Cancer center for children undergoing various treatments for cancer, on 9th February, 2013. Therapy dogs Kiara and Houdini interacted with the cancer patients at Ruby Hall along with the team of therapist. We got a tremendous response from the children who, for the first time had a great reason to visit the hospital with a smile.