- In 2004, FOUR PAWS became the first organization to launch an AAI program in Romania. The Dogs for People project started with a mobile team providing therapy sessions in centers for kids with disabilities.
- In 2012, FOUR PAWS extended the project to offer animal assisted activities (AAA) for institutionalized senior citizens. This allows therapy dogs to visit patients with age-specific mental disabilities in retirement homes in Bucharest. The goal of AAA is to support building rapport, increase self-esteem and motivation, and reduce loneliness and depression.
- In early 2016, FOUR PAWS opened the first AAI center in Bucharest where children are offered weekly support from our therapy dogs Mulan, Toto and Tuca, and their handler, completely free of charge. That same year, the project expanded into a partnership with Psychology Faculty at the University of Bucharest to offer research opportunities, practice and education in the field of human-animal interaction for students.
- In 2017, our team developed the No Stress Program, an animal-assisted intervention (AAI) aimed at reducing stress among company employees through interactions with dogs.
- In 2015, FOUR PAWS launched an AAI project in Bulgaria to work with former stray dogs of Sofia. A team of experts, including a psychologist and a dog trainer, worked together to train the first therapy dog: Smiley.
- In 2016, our Canistherapy project obtained a license from the Bulgarian Agency for Child Protection to perform animal assisted therapy sessions in the country.
- In 2017, FOUR PAWS signed an agreement with the Municipality of Sofia and became the first organisation to launch an AAI project in Bulgaria. After a short pilot phase, Smiley and our team delivered their first animal assisted activities in Lozenets’ Center for children and adolescents. That same year, the team also began to train a second therapy dog: Choko.