Therapy dogs are trained dog and human handler teams that serve in a variety of functions from kids Reading with Dogs programs, hospital and nursing home visitations, to being a valued companion for emotional support or PTSD. The therapy dog and owners work together to help improve the lives of other people. Dogs must often be a member of a national organization and have earned their Canine Good Citizenship and Therapy Dog titles from the American Kennel Club (AKC) or those specific organizations.
Therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs are trained to perform specific tasks to aid someone with disabilities, whether it be physical or mental. Service dogs have special access privileges in public places.
Therapy dogs must be certified by one of the following organizations:
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs (formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc.)
- Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs
- Love on a Leash
- Pet Partners (previously Delta Society)
- Therapy Dogs Incorporated (TD Inc.) – new name is Alliance of Therapy Dogs
- Therapy Dogs International
See our archived story about Happy the Therapy Dog.