Friday, July 31, 2009
Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. Service dogs are there to do a job, and you should not disturb them while they work. You can recognize a service dog because they wear a vest, while therapy dogs do not. Therapy dogs are there for people to pet and enjoy! They visit nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and wherever else they may be needed.
Your dog may be eligible to be certified as a therapy dog. Every dog must be tested and evaluated by a certified evaluator. Dogs must be a minimum of one (1) year of age and have a sound temperament. Each dog must pass a temperament evaluation for suitability to become a therapy Dog. Certain breeds do make better therapy dogs, but all breeds are eligible, and they do not need to have been trained as puppy. There are many therapy dogs that were rescued from a shelter.
Dogs bring a special joy to people because they love unconditionally. They bring laughter and happiness to someone in need, and the time spent working with your dog to become a therapy dog could be a rewarding experience for everyone involved! For all of you cat lovers...cats may qualify as a therapy pet if they pass the test!
There are many organizations that can help you get started. Please visit these sites for more information:
Therapy Dogs International
Therapy Dogs Inc.
Paws For Friendship Inc.
Love on a Leash