Therapy Dogs

I have wondered about this for some time now.  I have heard so much…incorrect information about Therapy Dogs and their certification.  It is even more confusing as there are so many supposed therapy dog training organizations out there and the laws governing them are different in each state.  I decided to get the skinny and be done with it.  I suspected money was involved somewhere particularly since there does not seem to be a medical billing code for therapy dogs.

This next part will make me some enemies or rather it would if anyone actually read my blog.  I think I’m safe.  There really is no such thing as a therapy dog.  This whole thing with dogs has legitimacy only because of the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This federal law says that if you have a “service dog” you and your dog may not be denied access.  So what is a service dog?  Well that does not seem to be as important as how to get one and the only legal way to get one is with a prescription.  If your problem is all in your head then you can get a prescription for that too from your shrink and you can call him an “emotional comfort dog”, not a therapy dog.

There is even a law about what happens if you claim to have a service dog and she is not.  I imagine this is more about whether you have a legal script rather than the qualifications of the dog.

So then what does it mean when you see these “therapy dogs” walking around with their vest and patches attesting to their kind intentions?  It simply means that someone has spent time working with the dog and allows others to enjoy their company, probably for tips and treats.  If they are lucky they have found a nursing home or maybe even a hospital that will allow them to visit.  But I have to ask myself why?  I can’t imagine tips coming close to paying for the insurance.

4 thoughts on “Therapy Dogs

  1. Angie, I’ve been following your blog for awhile. I found it when I did a search for lamb skins. I hope to meet you at the Clintonville market. Have a blessed season

  2. We have therapy dogs and go to University Hospital Case Western Reserve in Cleveland. If you saw the reaction and felt the joy coming from staff and patients and guests you would not have to question a motive again. There is just no way that joy can be manufactured. If we stood in the hall and handed out $100 dollar bills it would still not have that effect of innocent absolute “awwwwwww” joy. Wish you could see it.

    1. I have no doubt your dogs bring great joy to you and those you share their company with. So what is it exactly that you disagree with in my article? Do you actually have a billing code for “therapy dogs”? Please share it with the rest of us.

  3. A therapy dog is NOT a service dog. Certification of therapy dogs is done through various therapy dog organizations and most people who take dogs into facilities – hospitals, nursing homes, etc. – belong to such organizations because the facilities require it. The facilities generally require this because the organization provides insurance for the members of the organization. Most individuals don’t carry the requisite insurance.

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