Connecting Canines

Therapy dog JJ greets a student. JJ is a Golden Retriever.

Therapy dog JJ greets a student. JJ is a Golden Retriever.

Overview

Connecting Canines is our therapy dog certification program. We rigorously screen and prepare aspiring therapy dog teams to high standards for safety and professionalism. We provide existing teams with ongoing training opportunities, support, help with finding places to visit, and the opportunity to visit within our other programs (Bow Wows and Books, Operation Opie, and Bridges to Compassion). Certified therapy dog teams are covered under our liability insurance for volunteer therapy dog visits. All teams must recertify every two years. 

Please note: handlers must be a minimum of 14 yrs old. From ages 14 to 18 they must be accompanied on every visit by a legal guardian who has also gone through the training process with them.

For an overview of our 4 step certification process click here.

We offer puppy certifications and puppy partnerships as well as special endorsements for experienced teams. 

Our Philosophy

We believe that dogs who feel safe and supported by knowledgeable, attentive handlers can improve the lives of those they visit. Read more about ethical considerations in pet therapy


Little dogs visit too. Therapy dog Misty is a Papillon.

Little dogs visit too. Therapy dog Misty is a Papillon.

I Want to Become a Team!

You must complete four steps to become a certified therapy dog team:

  1. Class: Take the four-hour Therapy Dog Preparation Class with your dog 
  2. Test: Pass the Project Canine Therapy Team Exam
  3. Practice: Pass Practice Lab or supervised shadow visits
  4. Register and pay for your insurance

Therapy dog Hoyt makes a connection. Hoyt is a retired racing greyhound.

Therapy dog Hoyt makes a connection. Hoyt is a retired racing greyhound.

I Want Therapy Dogs to Visit!

If you think therapy dogs would benefit your facility, organization, or business, let us know and we'll see what we can do. We offer both educational programming and comfort visits with therapy dog teams through our four programs:

*Because our teams self-select their visit locations, we cannot guarantee teams for your location. We'll be happy to help you with your program by providing information, making a site visit, and supporting you in developing your policies. And we'll send your facility information to our teams. Though it sometimes takes a little while, we've been able to match teams with most of the facilities that contact us.