Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society (CAAWLS) is an innovative not-for-profit initiative that assists in the development, planning, and implementation of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) at a wide variety of facilities.

Many individuals have seen the benefits of AAT when a motivated therapist brings their own animal in to help their clients. At CAAWLS, we strive to bring those same benefits to all clients. We train all interested therapists and employ means of finding suitable animals to work with them, such as certified volunteer animals.


  • Recruit and certify therapy animals including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, and mini-horses
  • Recruit and train volunteers with qualified animals
  • Train a wide variety of therapists to use animals to help their clients
  • Facilitate ongoing Animal Assisted Therapy programs in our community
  • Provide services to assist new facilities in creating and sustaining their own Animal-Assisted Therapy programs

Our Mission

Animals Helping People Heal
CAAWLS' mission is to develop and make available effective animal assisted therapeutic services to health and social services providers. CAAWLS supports effective animal-assisted therapy (AAT) through program development, education and research evaluation.

Our Vision

CAAWLS' vision is to be the service provider of choice for animal-assisted therapeutic services in Alberta and recognized as the leading research, education and support resource in animal-assisted therapy in Alberta.


CAAWLS was founded in 2014 by the Chimo AAT team.

Chimo AAT was initially called “The Chimo Project," then "Chimo AAT," and was founded by Dennis Anderson, former President of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Alberta. The name "Chimo" comes from Dennis’ animal friend Chimo, a Blue Heeler/Labrador cross.

As Dennis had personally experienced the psychological benefits of human-animal interactions, he aspired to obtain evidence that animals are beneficial in the treatment of persons with mental health concerns.

The name “Chimo” comes from the Inuit toast for “good cheer”, which is what CAAWLS hopes to bring to all of our clients.