To offer therapy dog services, the handler should write a letter to the facility describing the dog’s training and the benefits of a visit by a therapy dog. If the dog and handler have completed testing to be registered with an organization, the letter can list those qualifications as well.
Many organizations have standards of health, grooming and obedience training, according to Service Dog Central. By complying with these standards, a handler assures the facility that he and the dog have been screened for the work they are applying to do.
Most therapy dogs and handlers work on a volunteer basis. Therapy dogs are different from service dogs, which are specially trained to respond to certain situations for individuals with disabilities. By contrast, therapy dogs provide joy and emotional support to people who may not otherwise have access to a pet, such as nursing home residents or long-term hospital patients. Some therapy dogs visit schools and participate in tutoring programs. Therapy dogs can provide emotional support for veterans with PTSD, as well.
While there are some service dogs trained specifically for psychiatric support, a therapy pet that provides emotional support does not qualify as a service animal and cannot be taken on an airplane or allowed in restaurants.