1. Why is it important to have my dog certified as a therapy dog?
It is important to have liability insurance protection whenever taking your dog into a setting in which the dog may not be familiar. Make sure that the program who certifies your dog includes insurance for you while on a visit under their certification.
2. Do I have to take a therapy dog class in order to get my dog certified as a therapy dog?
No, you are not always required to take a class prior to certification. Check with the organization or hospital to find out their specific policy. Some facilities will include in-service training while others will not.
3. Can I take my therapy dog into a restaurant or other stores?
Therapy dogs are not considered service dogs, therefore are not included in the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) (Please read question Q3 on the FAQ page on the ADA site). Therapy dogs do not have public access rights for any place where pet dogs are not allowed.
4. Will my dog be certified after completing your Prep School?
Completion of this class will not include certification as a therapy dog. This is a Prep Class designed to get you ready for certification and to give you additional information about the various programs in the San Diego area that do certify for therapy dog volunteering.
5. Can I fly with my therapy dog in the cabin?
Therapy dogs to not have public access rights for any place where pet dogs are not allowed. Some airlines will allow small dogs to fly in the cabin if they fit in a carrier at the traveler’s feet.
6. Can I take my therapy dog to work with me?
While some employers will allow a staff member to bring a therapy dog into the work setting, none of the organizations that certify therapy dogs will allow this environment to be included under their certification. This is mostly due to insurance and liability concerns. Therefore, anyone wanting to use a therapy dog while working will need to make sure he/she has adequate personal insurance and that the employer is aware that the therapy dog certification does not extend to the work environment.
7. How to get my dog certified as a therapy dog?
There are many ways to volunteer in San Diego with a therapy dog. You should start your research through the internet then contact specific organizations. Most hospitals in San Diego have therapy dog volunteer opportunities. Check with their volunteer offices. Both the Humane Society and Helen Woodward Animal Center have active therapy dog programs. There are several nation wide organizations that will also certify, including Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International, Love On A Leash and Pet Partners. Be sure to check the specific policies with each organization first to know what certification covers.
8. Do all therapy dog certifications include liability insurance coverage?
No, not all organizations that certify therapy dogs will include liability insurance with their certification. Check this out thoroughly before going through the process as insurance is very important for your protection.