Therapy Dog Organizations in New England
The Pets and People Foundation - Eastern Massachusetts
Founded in 1985 by a group of public health professionals and veterinarians with the objective of improving life for those institutionalized for whatever reason, and whether they were old or young. Volunteers and their pets visit facilities in more than 30 cities and towns in Massachusetts. This group offers Orientation Sessions for prospective volunteers. Each dog is screened by an experienced dog trainer to determine if the animal is suitable for the program, and a seminar on pet visitations is given to volunteers.
- DOG B.O.N.E.S. Therapy Dogs of Massachusetts
Dog B.O.N.E.S. - Dogs Building Opportunities for Nurturing and Emotional Support - is a Massachusetts based volunteer organization whose primary purpose is to provide well trained, affectionate, obedient, registered and insured therapy dog teams (dog and handler) for visitation to nursing facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, and any other Massachusetts location where they may provide therapeutic contact with the elderly, the disabled, or the young. This group offers workshops designed to educate the human member of the team and expose obedience-trained dogs to medical settings. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org, 781 378-1551
- Caring Canines Visiting Therapy Dogs, Inc. - Greater Boston area
An all-volunteer, non-profit canine pet therapy program serving the greater Boston area. Caring Canines visits extensively within the route 95 corridor, north to Reading and Stoneham, west to Sudbury and Natick, and south as far as Needham. The main visitation program consists of scheduled group visits with an average of 4 to 6 dogs at assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and residential group homes, including facilities serving children and adolescents. They also have a number of special programs. All visits are offered free of charge as a community service.
- Companion Animal Program serving Cape Cod
This program's mission is to enhance the quality of life of Cape Cod residents. Although originally organized to serve the older and disabled population, CAP has expanded to additionally serve children and youth in library, school, college and related settings. CAP provides trained and certified Therapy Teams to pre-approved sites. Pets are first screened for appropriate physical well-being and behavioral stability. Owners are specifically trained as handlers to work in a therapeutic setting. Together pets and their owners become Therapy Teams that are re-evaluated at least every two years to insure the highest levels of care.
- Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, Inc.
Bright Spot Therapy Dogs, Inc. is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to placing well trained certified therapy dog teams in meaningful programs that provide comfort and caring through the human-canine bond. Volunteers serve in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, libraries and other facilities where therapy dogs are needed. This group provides a training course, evaluates dogs and handler, provides certification and liability insurance, and maintains a list of facilities requesting visits.
- Care Dimensions. Volunteers and their dogs visit hospice patients and their families in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, private homes, and hospice houses located in Greater Boston and the North Shore. Care Dimensions offers training and continuing education for all volunteers. The volunteer application is online.
- FriendshipWorks PetPal Program. FriendshipWorks aims to help reduce social isolation and enhance the quality of life of older adults in Greater Boston. There is an extensive screening process for both volunteers and their dogs. Dogs must attend a screening with an animal behaviorist who is a certified canine good citizen evaluator and are rescreened every two years. FriendshipWorks provides insurance that covers PetPal volunteers. Approved teams are matched with a screened partner facility. Requirements for PetPals Dogs: 1) Be at least one year of age; 2) Have lived for at least 6 months with volunteer applicant prior to date of application; 3) Be able to obey basic commands including sit/stay/heel and walk with a harness or a leash; 4) Be on flea and tick control; 5) Not on a raw diet; 6) Have a physical exam within 12 months of screening; 7) Have a licensed veterinarian fill out the Animal Health Screening Form; 8) Attend the PetPals Screening to be scheduled by FriendshipWorks staff. 9) Attend the PetPals orientation and training for new volunteers.
- Pawprints Dog Visitation Program - Children's Hospital, Boston
Dogs must have a current registration with a therapy dog organization. There is a wait-list to participate in this program.
- The Tails of Joy - Connecticut
Tails Of Joy is an Animal Assisted Therapy group established in 1995 based in the Manchester, Connecticut area. They provide support, training and education to those interested in animal therapy programs and build connections between volunteers, facilities and individuals seeking animal therapy. Their members make visits to Children's Facilities, Nursing Homes, Rehab Centers, and School Systems for all students, including those with special needs. This group is an Affiliate Member of R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs), a Program of Intermountain Therapy Animals. Registration with a nationally recognized animal therapy organization is a requirement.
Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital - Salem, NH
Northeast Rehab Hospital has an active Animal Facilitated Therapy Program. The program uses volunteers and well-screened, highly-trained animals. Animals are used within the context of traditional treatment sessions with physical, occupational and speech therapists. Additionally, the animals also make social visits to patients. FMI: 603-893-2900
Therapy Dogs International, Inc.
Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registration of
therapy dogs and their volunteer handlers for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, other institutions and
wherever else therapy dogs are needed. Each dog must pass a TDI temperament evaluation for suitability to become a Therapy Dog. There is a list of upcoming tests on their website. FMI: Therapy Dogs International, Inc., 88 Bartley Rd, Flanders, NJ 07836; Phone 973 252-9800 or e-mail email@example.com
Pet Partners Program
Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, is a non-profit organization that helps people live healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives. Their therapy animal program trains volunteers and evaluates volunteers with their pets so they can visit patients/clients in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice and physical therapy centers, schools, libraries and many other facilities. Pet Partners Therapy Animals must meet the following criteria: 1) Are at least one year old at the time of evaluation; 2) Must be reliably house trained; 3) Be currently vaccinated against rabies, titres are not accepted in lieu of vaccination; 4) May not be fed a raw meat diet; 5) Have no history of aggression or seriously injuring either people or other animals; 6) Demonstrate good basic obedience skills, walk on a loose leash, and respond reliably to common commands; 7) Welcome, not merely tolerate, interactions with strangers; 8) Be comfortable wearing Pet Partners acceptable equipment. Phone: 425-679-5500
Alliance of Therapy Dogs
This group provides registration, support, and insurance to their members involved in volunteer visits with their animals. Dogs must be well-mannered, well-behaved, and enjoy meeting people. All dogs tested forATD therapy registration must be up to date on vaccines and have a negative fecal exam in the last year. There is no restriction on diets or supplements. ATD has a testing process that involves handling your dog and three supervised visits.
- Assistance dogs
There are three main types of Assistance Dogs:
- GUIDE DOGS for the blind and the visually impaired
- HEARING DOGS for the deaf and hard of hearing
- SERVICE DOGS for the physically disabled and/or mobility impaired.
Assistance Dogs International, Inc. is a coalition of members representing organizations and individuals training and placing Assistance Dogs. The purpose of ADI is to improve the areas of training, placement, and utilization of Assistance Dogs. They also set minimum standards and guidelines for the training of assistance dogs.