Become a Therapy Team with Dog-Harmony

Dog-Harmony is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the shelter populations through ongoing community education. We are a charity organization that supports the community through programs like our therapy program. Learn more about what it takes to become a therapy team, how Dog-Harmony therapy teams give back to the community, and the steps needed to become a therapy team.

What is a therapy team?

A therapy team, is a partnership between a human and an animal that are dedicated to giving back to the community through various animal assisted therapy activities such as visiting hospitals, rehabilitation facilities or schools. A therapy dog is there to serve the public with his handler who is an advocate for the dog. Therapy teams go through rigorous training and require a commitment to the population they serve.

How does Dog-Harmony serve the community through therapy?

Dog-Harmony has partnered with intermountain therapy, a therapy organization that has been practicing for over 25 years, to bring animal assisted therapy to the HCA hospital Destin /Fort Walton Beach. This program was launched in October and has been a tremendous success. Other opportunities are available through ITA such as the R.E.A.D. program in area schools and visitation to other facilities.

Why is it tough to become a therapy team?

According to Patricia McConnell volunteering as a therapy dog is the hardest job we may ask of any canine. Why? Because we’re asking him or her to meet and interact with strangers day after week after month after year and make each one feel special seen accepted connected to and loved what’s more all these strangers are going through the most difficult moments of their lives whether dealing with the new and frightening diagnosis or an accident or injury that will change capacities and that will forever future or a learning challenge or dealing with long-term deterioration or even facing the end of life this is hard hard work and it deserves the greatest of respect sensitivity and appreciation.

What are the steps to becoming a therapy team?

  •  Dog must be happy in public, not noise sensitive, loves all people and dogs. The dog must be at least 18 months old. Older dogs make great therapy dogs.
  •  Obedience level of Canine Good Citizen or higher…….the CGC may be taken at the same time as the therapy test.
  •  Initial workshop for the human only to learn about procedures for practicing as a therapy team.
  •  Team testing.
  •  Additional protocols are necessary for practicing in a public school or hospital.