Therapy Dogs Inc.

March 27, 2012  

The organization’s president shares what it’s all about

By Teri Meadows

Therapy Dogs Inc. is a national organization with its corporate office located in Cheyenne, Wyo. The organization was incorporated in the year 1990. Currently we have more than 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. Our 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.

Therapy Dogs Inc. does not support any breed-discriminatory legislation, and membership is open to handlers with all breeds and breed mixes that meet the required qualifications. Therapy dogs are personal pets who meet certain standards of good manners and health, and pass testing and evaluations.

(Teri Meadows’ dog, Murdock)

Qualifications for Therapy Dogs Inc. begin with a friendly dog and an owner/handler who has a desire to share that dog with those who are no longer able to have a pet of their own, or are in a health facility separated or away from their pets. Dogs must be at least one year of age to be tested and observed.

Our process begins with a test done by one of our tester/observers. This portion checks the dog’s basic good manners, including walking on a leash without pulling, greeting people without jumping on them, not showing fear of medical equipment, such as walkers and wheelchairs, and remaining calm around other dogs.

(Gremlin, with guardian Chris Hughes)

The evaluator also considers the owner’s handling skills and how dog and owner work as a team. Once the team has successfully passed this part of the test, they move to the next step of interacting with residents or strangers on three supervised visits at a medical facility and also a place that has children if the team is interested in participating in a reading program.

The original logo for Therapy Dogs Inc. depicted three actual registered therapy dogs: a Rottweiler, Ragan; a Doberman, Cassie; and an American Pit Bull Terrier, Rocky, who belonged to President Teri Meadows. Therapy Dogs Inc. currently has 59 bully breeds registered as therapy dogs. This number includes American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and mixes of these breeds. Therapy Dogs Inc. has registered a few American Pit Bull Terriers that were rescued from dog fighting rings. These dogs successfully completed all the testing, and they are all happily doing what they love to do … sharing their love with people.

Over the years Therapy Dogs Inc.’s president, Teri Meadows, has had nine American Pit Bull Terriers registered as therapy dogs and currently today has two Staffordshire Bull Terriers registered as therapy dogs.

« « Media Matters: Getting Pit Bulls Adopted | Looks Can be Deceiving » »


7 Responses to “Therapy Dogs Inc.”
  1. MeshaKoczian says:

    I’d love to do this with my Collie. I wanted to train her as a therapy dog when she was younger, but she became my service dog. She doesn’t want to retire and would love to still give love to everyone.

    • sweetpea says:

       @MeshaKoczian Therapy Dogs Incorporated has service dogs that are also registered therapy dogs. You do not have to retire her first.

  2. pitbullsrock says:

    Awesome! My female dog is a therapy dog through Delta Society/Pet Partners and I’m always told she’s one of the favorites because she is so very friendly and tolerant of hugs. One of our favorite places is a mental health facility where a gentleman there loves to hug her. It’s also amazing how many people want to be kissed by her (yuk), which she is always willing to accommodate.

  3. melissamcd says:

    And Therapy Dogs Inc does NOT discriminate against deaf dogs either. They are evaluated as individuals, too. (Some organizations won’t allow deaf dogs to be therapy dogs.) Yet another reason to love Therapy Dogs Inc for treating all dogs as individuals!

  4. RachelBrownRichards says:

    That’s great!!! It’s great to see another organization out there that people can register with. 🙂