The Professional Therapy Dog program at Freedom Service Dogs is an opportunity for us to pair shelter dogs with people around the country working to assist those in their community in need of therapeutic support. While our service dogs are typically the center of their client’s world, our therapy dogs reach hundreds of people in a vast variety of settings from assisted living communities to residential treatment, from AIDS counseling to our very own Pawsitive Connection program.
A therapy dog is placed with a professional therapist in the community who partners with their dog in their professional practice. It is a common misconception that a therapy dog does “therapy” for their client. Rather, the therapy dog is a therapeutic partner in a professional setting. We place therapy dogs with students seeking a graduate degree from the University of Denver in the Animal Assisted Social Work program, as well as professionals in the community who are already practicing therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, and social workers.
We choose our therapy dogs from among our dogs that do not qualify to become service dogs. Typically the reasoning centers around attention seeking behaviors, being distracted in public, or minor health concerns that may disqualify a service dog but would not affect the working life of a therapy dog. We look for dogs that love attention and affection from people, who are confident in their bodies and do not mind being handled and touched my many people, dogs that do not mind large crowds, dogs that are confident and comfortable around children, and dogs that do not have any resource guarding or aggression issues.
To qualify for a therapy dog you must be a professional therapist, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, occupational therapist or social worker, or seeking a graduate degree in one of the above fields. Please fill out the proper application that can be downloaded from out website. If you are currently a student, please fill out the application that is labeled for students. If you are already working professionally in your field, please fill out the application labeled for practicing professionals.
If you have questions please contact Jane Boone, the Client Relations Manager for Freedom Service Dogs at:
Please note: we cannot train or certify your pet dog as a therapy dog. Due to liability issues, we can only place the dogs in our kennels with applicants.