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What is a therapy animal?

A therapy animal 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 animals are not to be confused with service dogs or emotional support animals. 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 animals are prescribed by licensed mental health professionals to provide therapeutic support to persons with mental illnesses.

Our Introduction to Therapy Animals 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 animal classes

Introduction to Therapy Animals

Find out what it takes to be an animal therapy team! You’ll learn the basics of animal-assisted therapy, how to know if your pet would be a good therapy animal, what training you and your pet need to be an animal 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 763-489-2217. Upcoming sessions are listed below.

  • Wednesday, June 10, 7 p.m., Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (address)
  • Wednesday, July 29, 7 p.m., St. Paul Animal Humane Society (address)
  • Wednesday, August 19, 7 p.m., Golden Valley Animal Humane Society (address)
  • Wednesday, September 23, 7 p.m., St. Paul 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.

One-on-one therapy animal classes for cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs

Animal Humane Society offers one-on-one therapy animal classes for cats, rabbit, and guinea pigs! As part of this class, you and your pet will go through mock scenarios that are similar to what you would experience in a hospital or school setting. There are 20 visiting exercises that your pet must demonstrate to become a therapy animal. The class will help teach your pet behavior that is reliable, controllable and predictable.

For more information email us or call 763-489-2217. Classes are held at the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society site.