Student Scholarship to Support Animal-Assisted Counseling Services in the Community

Dr. Cynthia Chandler, professor, and Rusty Chandler, therapy dog, Scholarship

Donations are welcome to this scholarship. You can make a donation with your credit card. To make a donation visit this page at the Giving to UNT website.

Basic application information about the scholarship for applicants is on the Counseling and Higher Education Scholarship site.


To provide scholarship funds for graduate students training to be counselors who desire to work as a team with their pets (dogs, horses, cats, etc) to provide animal-assisted counseling services to clients in the community. Clients who are served by animal-assisted counseling may be struggling with any difficult life situation, such as, grief from loss, addictions, domestic violence, depression, family struggles, veterans with trauma, child abuse, or other concerns.


This scholarship was established by Dr. Cynthia Chandler to honor her dog Rusty who served as a therapy dog. Dr. Chandler and Rusty were the first team from the University of North Texas to assist with providing counseling and educational services. Working as a team over the years, Dr. Chandler and Rusty volunteered thousands of hours of counseling services for many clients in the community. They also trained hundreds of university students to become counselors to work with their own pets to provide animal-assisted counseling to clients in the community. The work of Dr. Chandler and Rusty lead to the establishment of the Consortium for Animal Assisted therapy at the University of North Texas which furthers the development of the AAT field by providing counselor training, and counseling research. Dr. Chandler is an award-winning, international leader in the field of animal-assisted therapy. She is author of the classic book, Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling, now in its 3rd edition (published 2017). Her wonderful dog Rusty passed away in his elder years, but Dr. Chandler still works with her pets providing services to clients in the community and training students to become a counselor with their pets.


Counseling Program, Department of Counseling and & Higher Education, College of Education, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas.

If you wish to speak with someone about this scholarship, contact:

Dr. Cynthia Chandler, Director, Consortium of Animal-Assisted Therapy, 940 565 2910

Laura Holliman, administrator, 940 565 2910