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.
"We visit with residents almost every Sunday and have been lucky to offer therapy services for a fantastic community. We have met family members and celebrated events like Mother's Day and Father's Day. I can't thank you enough for helping us prepare for such rewarding experiences." ~Certified therapy dog handler Joanne
We offer puppy certifications and puppy partnerships as well as special endorsements for experienced teams.
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.
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:
- Connecting Canines ongoing therapy dog visits*
- Bow Wows and Books children's literacy support
- Operation Opie bite prevention education
- Bridges to Compassion humane education
*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.