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IHAC Comm. Team

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Sarah Pellizzari, Human-Animal-Environment Interaction in Social Work Certificate '12

Feature  •
Sarah Pellizzari with her two dogs

To further advance the field of human-animal-environment interactions (HAEI), IHAC is proud to support the Human-Animal-Environment Interaction in Social Work certificate at the University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work. Along with coursework, students have the opportunity to intern at an organization focusing on HAEIs. Sarah Pellizzari, an MSW graduate who earned the certificate (at the time known as the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate) in 2012, integrates pieces of her learning into her work today.

Currently, Pellizzari runs her own business that focuses on both clinical social work practice incorporating interventions with animals, and private, positive reinforcement dog training. When reflecting back on her HAEI coursework, Pellizzari shared, “During my years at GSSW in the IHAC program I was fortunate to intern at Freedom Service Dogs which launched my passion for relationship-based principles in animal training, as well as led me to my relationship with my first therapy dog in 2012. IHAC gave me the compass to always put animal and client welfare first along with looking critically at evidence based, goal directed interventions with AAT.”

Since earning her degree and certificate, Pellizzari received her license and has worked in community mental health settings where she launched therapy programs incorporating canines. She then went on to start her own private practice where animals have a role in her therapy work.

In addition to her clinical practice, Pellizzari has gone on to complete the Karen Pryor Academy's Dog Trainer Professional Program and has volunteered at many local shelters and rescues.

To learn more about Pellizzari's work, check her out Southern Colorado Animal Assisted Therapy & Training on Facebook.