Challenges for Medical Professionals Seeking Therapy Dogs


- 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐚𝐩𝐲 𝐏𝐞𝐭 𝐓𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 -

Everything seems to come in waves around here!

This month we are seeing a wave of medical and psychological professionals who would like to have therapy dogs to take to work with them to assist with patients, so I wanted to make this post again for anyone who missed it last time and just to further educate on what our process looks like in this case.

We love to help train therapy pet teams, but the therapy pet organization we test for has some rules that we must follow in this case and we like to make everyone aware upfront before they spend lots of money on training, testing, and memberships with therapy pet organization.

The organization we test for is for volunteer therapy pet teams. They consider members to be volunteers and as such, volunteers cannot "volunteer" at their place of employment because you are getting paid and there are many conflicts with the insurance. So, they cannot cover you when you take your therapy pet to your own place of work.

They also do not allow you to select where you will volunteer, but try to find something within their network which is close to your home.

So, this creates a bit of sticky situation.

- 𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐈 𝐃𝐨? -

This doesn't mean you cannot use your pet for therapy work at your place of work, but it does mean you will not be insured - even if you are certified through the organization we test for. And we highly recommend you have insurance coverage!

It can be difficult to find this coverage alone without an organization and it can be expensive as well.
Business Insurers of the Carolinas provides coverage for therapy dog teams outside of their certification, but this is on an individual basis and your application will need to be approved.

You are welcome into our classes, whether you test with this organization or not, but we do warn people of the challenges they may face, as many large organizations have similar rules.

We recommend the medical and psychological professionals look into more extensive training and certification usually instead, especially if they are seeking to do animal assisted play therapy or use the animal as part of their treatment plan.

The organization we recommend looking into the International Institute of Assisted Animal Play Therapy for this instead, which hosts their own certification programs in which you will need to go through them to achieve.

- 𝐅𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐭𝐢𝐞𝐬 -

If you own a facility in Mississippi, which would like to have therapy dogs come in for volunteer visits each month for free, please contact me via our Contact page as we are in desperate need of more facilities for teams to visit.

We have more therapy teams here in Mississippi than we do facilities for them to visit. We need more places for these teams to volunteer at.

Facilities could be nursing homes, hospice, hospitals, schools, and more.

Sign up is quick and painless and you just need to have one person assigned as head of the program and have permission from your facility head.

Hopefully this enlightens everyone on what options are available to you as you seek to enter the world of therapy work!