What Is Pet Therapy?
Pet therapy is an activity in which a volunteer takes his/her dog to a facility such as a
nursing home, hospital, adult daycare or school.Residents of these facilities are encouraged
to interact with the dog through petting, holding the dog (if small enough) or just talking
with the volunteer about the dog or reminiscing about dogs that they once owned.
Other activities that are beneficial are walking the dog with the resident or having the resident
participate is a game of “fetch” with the dog. This social interaction usually brings smiles or
laughter, creating medically documented health benefits.
Why Have A Nationally Registered Therapy Dog?
Simply, it is to provide safety to the people you are visiting. National registration is proof to a facility’s administration that your dog has been temperament tested, that your dog is clean and healthy and that you are covered by liability insurance. This insurance provides coverage to people that you visit in the event of illness or injury resulting from contact with your dog. Once you and your dog are registered, you have the choice to work independently or with other registered teams in a group situation. National registration gives you and your dog credibility in your community regarding pet therapy.
How Can I Get My Dog Registered?
You must contact a tester/observer who is approved by a national organization. You will be asked to go on a therapy visit without your dog to observe what is involved in therapy dog work. You will then set up a time and place to bring your dog to be temperament tested. After passing the test, you will be observed by the T/O for a minimum of three visits. If you and your dog work successfully, the T/O will then recommend you and your dog as a team who qualifies for membership in a national organization and you can apply for registry.