Our Story


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 Interventions (AAI) at a wide variety of facilities.

CAAWLS was founded in 2014 as an offshoot of an existing program. 'The Chimo Project" was initially founded by Dennis Anderson, former President of the Canadian Mental Health Association in Alberta. The Chimo Project later became "Chimo Animal Assisted Therapy", and then "Chimo Animal Assisted Wellness and Learning Society".

Chimo was Dennis Anderson's Blue Heeler/Labrador cross. Dennis had personally experienced the psychological benefits of human-animal interactions, and 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.

Many individuals have seen the benefits of AAI at some point in their lives. At CAAWLS, we strive to bring those same benefits to as many people as we can. We work within various facilities in the education, health, and social services sectors, including grade schools, universities, seniors facilities, homeless shelters, corporate wellness events, and many more.



  • Recruit and certify wellness animals, specifically dogs and cats
  • Recruit volunteers with qualified animals
  • Facilitate ongoing AAI programs with various facilities in our community
  • Provide services to assist new facilities in creating and sustaining their own AAI programs


Our Mission

Animals Helping People Heal

CAAWLS' mission is to develop and make available effective Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) services to those in the community who need it. We hope to educate the public and promote AAI to the community, and use AAI as a medium for health, wellness, and education.

Our Vision

CAAWLS' vision is to be the service provider of choice for Animal Assisted Intervention services in Alberta and to be recognized as the leading research, education and support resource in AAI in Alberta.


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