My Golden Retriever Wants to be a
Therapy Dog! Now WHAT?!?!
by Stephanie Ensley
First of all, let me congratulate you on sharing your life with one of the most loved, and loving, breeds of dog known to man. Golden Retrievers are good at so many things in life, and serving as a Therapy Dog is one of them! Thank you for willingness to share your Golden with others.
The first thing I would ask is what type of therapy visits do you want to do? The possibilities are endless! Common places therapy dogs may be found are nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, schools, airports and hospice. The places you want to visit may dictate how you train, and which umbrella organization you test with. The organization that you test with provides liability insurance for therapy animal teams, and also may dictate what type of visits you can do. For example, in order to work with your dog at Arkansas Children’s Hospital...in Little Rock or Springdale...you must test with Pet Partners. This does not mean one group is better than the other, just that Arkansas Children’s program elects to stay with the group they are familiar with. Pet Partners does not allow dogs to wear costumes, so if your Golden likes to dress up for reading day at the library, you might choose Love on a Leash to test with.
Please check out the following groups widely recognized around the state of Arkansas. Take the time to read about different requirements and limitations. Once you have made a decision....dive in! Another adventure with your Golden awaits!
Pet Partners: www.petpartners.org
Alliance of Therapy Dogs: www.therapydogs.org
Love on A Leash: www.loveonaleash.org
Therapy Dogs International: www.tdi-dog.org
There are several additional groups recognized by the AKC. That list can be found at:
Read about the possibilities. Your dog might even earn a title for his/her work in!