Animal Assisted Interventions in the Practice of Veterinary Social Work


Today, I am excited to speak with our guest, Jeannine Moga. Jeannine is a licensed clinical social worker with specialties in veterinary social work, stress reduction, pet loss, and bereavement. She is also a veterinary social worker, and she has been an educator and consultant. She is joining me today to tell her story and talk about the work she does. Stay tuned for more!

Jeannine was one of my instructors at the University of Tennessee in the veterinary social work program. She has walked a long and winding path to get to where she is today. She started her veterinary social work training in 2002. After that, she worked full-time in the veterinary social work field in a veterinary hospital and then spent a fair amount of time working specifically in veterinary medicine and veterinary hospitals, doing an assortment of education and programming. Be sure to listen in today, to find out about the work that Jeannine does, using animal-assisted interventions.

Jeannine’s Bio:

Jeannine is a licensed clinical social worker with specialties in veterinary social work, stress resilience, and grief and loss. She has developed and led two veterinary social work programs (Veterinary Social Services at the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Medical Center, and Family & Community Services at NC State University’s Veterinary Hospital) and works with veterinary, animal welfare, and social services professionals across the country to address the intersections of human and animal health and well-being. Her interests include occupational well-being in service professions, the delivery and evaluation of animal-assisted interventions, and clinical bioethics/moral distress in veterinary practice. She maintains a private clinical and veterinary consulting practice in Southeast Virginia, serves as the Director of Ethics and Standards of Practice for the International Association of Veterinary Social Work, and is also the Chief Happiness Officer for VETgirl, a multimedia veterinary continuing education provider.  

Show highlights:

  • Jeannine talks about how she got started in the field.
  • Jeannine talks about the many aspects of veterinary social work in which she has been involved.
  • How she engaged the community in interesting ways.
  • The main issues that come up for Jeannine to use the human/animal connection.
  • Opening a door for connection, as a clinician, by having animals.
  • The difference between animal-informed social work and veterinary social work.
  • Jeannine shares her pie-in-the-sky goal.
  • How animal-assisted interventions differ from animal-assisted social work.
  • Jeannine defines animal-assisted therapy.
  • Maximizing the specific use of animals in treatment planning.
  • How animals attune to their owners as compared with how an external animal attunes to someone.
  • Looking at dual relationships with animals.
  • Jeannine explains what bioethics and world distress mean.
  • Jeanine talks about VETgirl and explains what she does as the Chief Happiness Officer.

 Links and resources:

VETgirl – 

Jeannine’s clinical practice website   

For consulting questions, email Jeannine at [email protected]