Human Animal Solutions

About Us

Ann R. Howie, LICSW, ACSW

Ann has enjoyed and learned from animals in her life since birth (she was up on horseback before she could walk). As an adult, Ann began integrating animals into her counseling practice in 1987 and has worked with animals in (human) health care ever since. She has both state and national credentials as a clinical social worker (counselor).

Ann has incorporated animals into her work in the following settings:

Ann founded and coordinated a hospital animal-assisted activities and therapy program from 1990-1997. Ann was Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society®)’s national Director of AAT Services from 1995-2000, and she is an Eden Associate.

She has written three textbooks about animal-assisted programming (Starting a Visiting-Animal Group, The Handler Factor, and Teaming with Your Therapy Dog) and contributes to internationally recognized training books on handler skills and animal-handler evaluation. She was part of the initial task force to identify standards for the emerging field of animal-assisted therapy. She co-authored a State of the Art Report on infection control implications for animals in healthcare facilities for the Association of Practitioners in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC).

Ann is designing a new Canine-Assisted Intervention Specialist professional-development certificate for the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, part of the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (Colorado).  She was previously an adjunct faculty member in the University of Denver’s  Animals and Human Health Certificate program. She has also been an adjunct professor in the Masters in Counseling Psychology program at St. Martin’s University in Olympia, Washington.

Ann was traditionally trained to use coercive dog- and horse-training methods; even as a child she had difficulty with the concept of using force against animals. As an adult she crossed over to clicker training and uses clicker-training principles in her work with both people and animals. Ann has received education in dog training principles and theories and has worked professionally as a dog trainer since 2001.  She is a member in good standing of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers.

Ann shares her life (currently) with a Soft-Coated Wheaten Terrier, a Standard Poodle, and multitudes of wild birds and squirrels.

Professional Associations


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Gusto, Former Therapy Dog and K9 Nose Work® Dog

Photo by Dee Dee Murry

Gusto was the first puppy we had raised in over 10 years, and he revitalized our lives. In the summer of 2015 (at the age of 4) he was diagnosed with lymphoma, so he is no longer working.  He is a miracle boy to still be with us, and he continues to live life with gusto.



Photo by Dee Dee Murry.

Diva came to us in June 2015 as a two-year-old. She acted like she knew us and settled in immediately and happily. She thought she might want to work as a therapy dog, but soon tired of the effort, so she is not asked to work.  She now enjoys doing K9 Nose Work with her man.


Boy hugging golden retriever puppy