Many people are interested in doing volunteer work with their dog… and who can blame them!?! Who wouldn’t want to do something positive for their community AND spend time with their furry loved one?
Not all dogs have the right personality for therapy work, but if your dog is friendly with people and other animals, enjoys getting out of the house, and has good manners, you might be surprised how easy it is to get started!
The best advice I have for you is to first consider where you want to volunteer because different locations will have different requirements for you and your dog. Some will require certification through a program like Therapy Dog International, Therapy Dogs Inc, or Delta Society, some will require specialized background checks and immunizations for you, and some will have specific time commitment requirements. Once you know where you want to go, contact that organization and they will tell you how to get started.
Your dog doesn’t have to know any fancy tricks! Most certification programs require only basic obedience: sit, stay, leave it, etc. Therapy Dog programs can be found in hospitals, schools, nursing homes, shelters, etc. There are also more specialized programs for dogs assisting after tragic events. There are so many opportunities out there and you can decide what is the best fit for you and your dog.
Good luck and have fun making a difference!