Therapy Dogs are pet dogs who, along with their owner/handler, visit facilities such as libraries, hospitals, rehab centers, nursing homes, and schools. They are also very successfully used by therapists and counselors in their line of work. Therapy Dogs bring comfort, happiness, entertainment and encouragement into the lives of those who are sick, lonely, troubled, bored or stressed. The team of handler and dog register with a national organization such as Pet Partners or Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Registering as a Therapy Dog team qualifies the team for organizational support and liability insurance while they are working within a facility.
What special qualities does a Therapy Dog have?
Outwardly, a Therapy Dog can be any breed, age or size, but what they all have in common is the ability to act as a calm and well-behaved team member with their handler. In addition a dog needs to have the environmental confidence to work in facilities with challenges such as crowded or tight work spaces, slick floors, wheelchairs, medical equipment, stairs and elevators. Most importantly, a Therapy Dog must thoroughly enjoy being petted and interacting with people of all types.
How can DITR find a dog for me, so we can become a Therapy Dog team?
If you are interested in doing Therapy Dog work as a volunteer or within your line of business, we can help you find that special dog with the potential to meet the necessary qualifications of a Therapy Dog. Our Diamonds in the Ruff of Virginia (DITR) trainers own registered Therapy Dogs and volunteer actively with these dogs, so we understand what constitutes a good dog. We can assist you with the shelter search to find, evaluate and adopt the special dog you are looking for.
Once I get the right dog, how do I become a registered Therapy Dog team?
Depending on the organization with which you register, you must meet certain qualifications, including testing of yourself and the dog as a team, as well as paying member fees and yearly dues. The dog must be at least one of age, yet even if your dog is under-age you can train towards the time he will be old enough. DITR can help get you and your newly adopted dog started towards work as a registered Therapy Dog team.