The practice, once limited to nursing homes, is aiding people, young and old, with a range of ills. No doubt about it. People have a deep and complex relationship with animals, which elicit a wide range of emotional responses by their very presence and interactions with human beings. But these days, animals are being involved in human therapy in innovative ways that depart drastically from traditional notions of animal-assisted therapy. "Most people think of nursing homes, and people going in to cheer up the elderly," said Bill Kueser, vice president of marketing for the Delta Society, a nonprofit group that promotes animal-assisted therapy. "It's really become much more than that." Animals have become part of many types of psychotherapy, physical therapy and crisis response, Kueser said. And it's not simply using a therapy dog to calm or soothe a person, either, he said.