WHEN: March 7, 2020          WHERE: University of North Florida, Jacksonville

title with symposium

Therapy Animal Coalition’s 4th Expo is for aspiring volunteer therapy animal handlers, already registered handlers and the facilities and organizations that want or have therapy animal programs.  The Expo is open to the public and offers informational workshops and speakers to help those new to the field or those wanting to expand their knowledge.

The 2nd Animal-Assisted Therapy Symposium is hosted by the University of North Florida's Brooks College of Health.  This event is geared toward professionals in the health, education and other specialized fields who are looking to use therapy animals in practice. The symposium offers CEU credit and is ticketed separately from the Expo.

Poster Pet Photo Contest Winners!

Congratulations to Elvis, our Poster Pet Photo Contest Winner.  You will see his face on all the marketing materials for our 2020 Expo.  His human, Hanaa Habashi raised over $1800 through this fundraiser.  

Elvis - Poster Pet Photo Contest Winner

And not to be forgotten, special thanks to Phoebe (with human Kelly May) and Rudy (with human Ellen Chiafair) who came in 2nd and 3rd respectfully.  

Exhibit Hall

There are several built-in breaks in the agenda to make time for attendees to visit the exhibit hall.  All the local therapy animal programs are represented.  The exhibit hall will allow attendees to interact with onsite vendors who will be offering various pet-related products and services and is open to both the Expo and Symposium attendees.



Dr. Aubry Fine
author of the Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy

Aubrey Fine

Dr. Aubrey Fine is a native of Montreal, Canada. He received his graduate degree from University of Cincinnati in 1982. Dr. Fine has been on the faculty at California State Polytechnic University since 1981 and is presently a Professor Emeritus and a licensed psychologist. In 2001, Dr. Fine was presented the Wang Award given to distinguished professors within the California State University system (23 Universities).


Aubrey has been recognized by numerous organizations for his service and dedication to children, animals and the community. In July of 2016, he received the William McCulloch Award for Excellence in HAI Education and Practice from the International Association of Human Animal Interaction Organizations, in Paris, France. Additionally, he was awarded the Educator of the Year in 1990, from the Learning Disability Association of CA, as well as receiving the 2006 CA Poly Faculty Award for Community Engagement.


Aubrey’s primary research interests relate to the psycho-social impact of human animal interactions and animal assisted interventions, social skills training and children with ADHD, and resilience in children. Dr. Fine is the author of several books including Our Faithful Companions, Parent Child Dance, Therapist's Guide to Learning and Attention Disorders, Fathers and Sons, The Total Sports Experience for Children, Give a Dog Your Heart, The Handbook on Animal Assisted Therapy (new 5th edition released in July 2019) and Afternoons with Puppy. He also has had a featured monthly column in Dog Fancy Magazine on the human animal bond entitled the Loving Bond. He has been a guest on numerous national TV and Radio Shows including on programs on ABC, Discovery Network, KTLA, NPR, PBS, Fox and CNN. His work has also been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, People magazine, LA and N.Y. Times. He was noted as one of the pioneers in Animal Assisted Therapy in a March issue of the NY Times. Dr. Fine is the chair of the Human Animal Bond Advisory Committee of Pet Partners as well as the past chair of the steering committee on Human Animal Interactions for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Rev. Elizabeth Teal
Animal-Assisted Therapy Expert

rev lizzie garden bbuuc

Reverend Elizabeth Teal thought she was going to grow up to be an ethologist focusing on interspecies relationships, but along the way became a monk and an interspiritual interfaith minister instead. She is president of Giving Paws and the Spiritual Director for The Ministry of Animals. She maintains a private practice in interspecies / interspiritual counseling. She is also available for workshops and speaking engagements. Past credits include: Training Director and Consultant for Pattes Tendue (headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland); coordinator of the ASPCA’s Visiting Pet Program & assisting in the 9/11 response; sitting on Delta Society’s first Pet Partners National Committee; and handling Tomi, the first installed Canine Guardian ad Litem in the state of Florida. She is committed to equity, justice and compassion in all our relationships, and blogs daily at MinistryofAnimals.org.

Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins
Michele Pich
Michele Pich
Steve Piscitelli
Steve Piscitelli
Wolfson Childrens Hospital
Kathy Burns
Jim Monahan
Jim Monahan


8:00 a.m.     Check-in & Breakfast

8:30 a.m.     Welcome & Introductions

9:00 a.m.     Keynote - Dr. Aubry Fine

10:15 a.m.     Break

10:30 a.m.     Session 1

11:30 a.m.     Break

12:00 p.m.    Lunch/Keynote - Elizabeth Teal

1:30 p.m.     Session 2

2:15 p.m.     Break

2:30 p.m.     Session 3


Session Descriptions

Please stay tuned to our website as we finalize our sessions.  Our confirmed sessions are listed below.  Whether you are new to pet therapy, are a seasoned volunteer, or work at a facility or organization with a program, we have sessions for all!

Starting at the Very Beginning,
How to Become a team

Kathy Burns
Wolfson Children's Hospita

How to Start a Therapy Animal Program

Michele Pich
Rowan University

Speak Dog
Understanding Canine Body Language

Stephanie Perkins
Tallahassee Memorial Hospital

Interactive Pet Therapy Workshop

Steve Piscitelli
Growth & Resilience Network

On Your Best Behavior
Training Basics for Therapy Work


Pet Loss
It's More than "Just a pet"

Jim Monahan
Community Hospice & Palliative Care

When it's Time to Retire your Therapy Animal

Rev. Elizabeth Teal
Giving Paws


March is a beautiful time to visit Jacksonville, FL.  If you have the time to spend a few extra days, we have the beach, the river, and a vibrant downtown.  We have secured 2 choices for hotels that are near the venue.

10573 Brightman Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32246

Use code: TAC for group discount

$119/per night (either doubles or king)

TripAdvisor reviews, click here

10434 Midtown Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32246

Reference "Therapy Animal Expo/Animal-Assisted Symposium" to get discount

$139/per night (Queen Studio)
$149/per night (King)

TripAdvisor reviews, click here

Thank you to our sponsors!

This event would not be possible without the support of our partners.  We are honored to have these organizations walking alongside us as we continue to help people share the healing love of pets!