Animal Assisted Intervention at The Nelson ARK: A social work placement reflection


  • Letitia Meadows Bachelor of Social Work Programme, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).
  • Karen Howieson The Nelson ARK.
  • Tessa Bashford Bachelor of Social Work Programme, Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT).
  • Brooke Silke-Atkins Recent graduate Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT)



Animal Assisted Intervention, animal–human relations, social work, social work student education, social work placement


The involvement of animals in aspects of social work assessments and interventions has been touted as a positive development. Yet, little attention has been given to the potential for animal involvement in social work education and training. This practice reflection describes social work student placements at The Nelson ARK, where Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) is employed in programmes for youth. Social work placement coordinator, Letitia, and The Nelson ARK manager, Karen, provide the background to this initiative, while students, Tessa and Brooke, share a snapshot of their placement experiences that highlight a fresh appreciation of human–animal relations. From our collective experiences, the authors propose that field education in services that provide AAI affords novel and valuable learning for social work students.


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How to Cite

Meadows, L., Howieson, K., Bashford, T., & Silke-Atkins, B. (2020). Animal Assisted Intervention at The Nelson ARK: A social work placement reflection. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 32(4), 84–88.