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What is a therapy dog?

A therapy dog provides affection and comfort to members of the public, typically in facility settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living, hospice, shelters, schools, libraries, and physical therapy centers.

Therapy dogs are not to be confused with service dogs or emotional support dogs. Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities and are considered working animals, not pets. Examples of such work include guiding people who are blind and alerting people who are deaf. Emotional support dogs are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals to provide therapeutic support to persons with mental illnesses.

Our Introduction to Therapy Dogs and Therapy Dog classes forge a path for you and your pet to become an animal-assisted therapy team. We do not offer service dog or emotional support animal resources of any kind.

Therapy dog classes

Introduction to Therapy Dog

Find out what it takes to be a therapy team! You’ll learn the basics of animal-assisted therapy, how to know if your pet would be a good therapy dog, what training you and your dog need to be a therapy team, and how you can get involved with Canine Inspired Change, North Star Therapy Animals, or other therapy visiting programs.

This introduction is free, but registration is required. Humans only; no pets please.

To register, email us or call 651-788-4616. Upcoming sessions are listed below.

  • Wednesday, August 19, 7 p.m., Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (address)

Therapy Dog Class

Our Therapy Dog Class is open to dogs that have passed the Canine Good Citizen test. Your dog will practice visiting the facilities of your choice as a therapy animal in simulated situations. Upon class completion, your dog will have the skills to join therapy groups including Canine Inspired Change and North Star Therapy Animals.

A free preview of this class is offered once a month. To register for a preview or for the full class, email us or call 763-489-2217. All therapy dog classes take place at our Golden Valley shelter.