This page is dedicated to all the wonderful organizations and their furry volunteers. Please visit their websites to learn more about the programs and the animals that are making a mark in their communities, one paw at a time 🙂
BARK Therapy Dog
Founded in 2007, BARK is an all-volunteer program that encourages children to increase their reading skills and self-confidence by reading aloud to certified therapy dogs. Students find it intimidating to read in front of classmates, but love to read to the non-judgmental, calming dogs. BARK now has 160 teams listening to kids in more than 100 schools and libraries in California.
BARK teams also visit nursing homes, senior living facilities, veterans centers, and even de-stress college students during finals week.
Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, is a 501(c)(3)non-profit organization that helps people live healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives.
Pet Partners’ 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. Over 11,000 handler/animal teams bring joy, comfort and compassion to those in need. These dedicated volunteers and their pets have been credited for helping people forget about their pain, providing distractions so nurses can perform medical procedures on pediatric patients, inspiring and motivating patients recovering from a stroke or other brain injuries to perform more physical therapy exercises than when working with their human therapists alone, and at times have brought individuals out of a coma!
Therapy Dogs Inc.
Therapy Dogs Inc. is a national organization with its corporate office located in Cheyenne, WY. TDInc. was incorporated in the year 1990. Currently Therapy Dogs Inc. has 12,000+ handler/dog teams in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories.
It is a goal of Therapy Dogs Inc. to provide registration, support, and insurance for members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, and nursing homes. Therapy Dogs Inc.’s objective is to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to people, young and old alike.
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response
HOPE Animal-Assisted Crisis Response is a national all-volunteer, non-profit, crisis response organization with specially trained handlers (psychological first aid, incident command, etc) and canines trained and tested for crisis response work. Agencies call upon HOPE AACR teams to provide comfort and support to people affected by disasters. Scientific evidence has shown animals are a positive factor in helping people cope with traumatic events. HOPE AACR teams are educated to be effective and professional while working in stressful, unpredictable environments.
Therapy Dogs International
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.
TDI was founded in 1976 in New Jersey.
TDI registers all breeds of dogs. Some dogs have pedigrees, while others have been adopted from local shelters or are rescue dogs.
To belong to Therapy Dogs International (TDI®) all dogs must be tested and evaluated by a Certified TDI Evaluator. A dog must be a minimum of one (1) year of age and have a sound temperament. Each dog must pass a TDI temperament evaluation for suitability to become a Therapy Dog. The test will also include the evaluation of the dog’s behavior around people with the use of some type of service equipment (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.).
ADAI – Assistance Dogs for Achieving Independence
Assistance Dogs helps children and adults with disabilities achieve greater independence by training and placing service and therapy dogs to assist with the individual’s daily needs. For over 25 years, ADAI assistance dogs have helped transform the lives of over 250 individuals and their communities. From children with muscular dystrophy and spina bifada to adults with cerebral palsy and spinal cord injuries, our service dogs provide their owners with self-reliance, self confidence and self-esteem, and most importantly, a chance to live their lives to the fullest potential. ADAI therapy dogs, equally highly trained, offer comfort and companionship to children in schools, persons in nursing homes and individuals with developmental disabilities, autism and Down’s Syndrome.
Paws 4 Healing
Paws 4 Healing volunteer members and their registered pets provide Animal-Assisted Activities/Therapy services at facilities in local communities. Most members volunteer with dogs, but some visit with other kinds of domestic animals, such as rabbits.
Paws 4 Healing volunteers visit facilities such as, hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, schools, children’s centers, and battered women’s homes to name a few.
Some of Paws 4 Healing teams participate in the R.E.A.D.® program for children. R.E.A.D.®, which stands for Reading Education Assistance Dogs, is a program developed by Intermountain Therapy Animals of Utah. Paws 4 Healing teams participating in R.E.A.D.® are registered with I.T.A. For more information about the benefits of R.E.A.D.® programs, please go to the I.T.A. website at www.therapyanimals.org.
Reading Education Assistance Dogs
The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to an animal. But not just any animal. R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
R.E.A.D. is the first and foremost program that utilizes therapy animals to help kids improve their reading and communication skills and also teaches them to love books and reading. It’s been growing around the world since November of 1999 when ITA launched it here in Salt Lake City. More than 3,500 therapy teams have trained and registered with the program and are going strong!
Today, thousands of registered R.E.A.D. teams work throughout the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Finland, France, Sweden, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Netherlands, Norway and beyond. R.E.A.D. is one of those ideas that, in the words of Bill Moyers, “pierces the mundane to arrive at the marvelous.”
*Information from organization websites.