Therapy dogs accompany their owners to various volunteer settings such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, libraries, and even to private gatherings when groups or individuals request their presence or their special talents. Sometimes therapy dogs sit beside a child learning to read or an autistic child who relates better to animals than people. They often visit seniors in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, or in privates homes, bringing comfort and a bit of the outside world inside to those who cannot travel.
Though not service dogs many testimonials praise therapy dogs for giving miraculous comfort, encouragement and healing to people suffering from either physical or emotional pain. Victims of emotional trauma, crime victims and soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) say they feel significantly better after spending time with a caring therapy dog. Studies show that during a therapy dog visit, some patients’ breathing becomes calmer and their blood pressure decreases. Students preparing for final exams tell our volunteers that time spent with our therapy dogs helps them study more efficiently and thus perform better on their exams. Schools invite therapy dogs to help teach children the proper way to approach, pet and act with and around animals.
Therapy dog handlers take their dogs through extensive testing and perform qualifying visits with other therapy dog/handler teams before earning full therapy dog status within their therapy dog organization. AKC now recognizes several national therapy dog organizations and grants registered therapy dogs titles based on their service records. We’re proud of our many members who give back to our community as therapy dog/handler teams!