Therapy dogs impact learning and provide the catalyst for positive change.  Since a therapy dog loves to interact with everyone - from children, to adults, to seniors - our core Facility Dog Placement Programs and Educational Programs really allow our dogs to shine!  To watch video of our dogs in action, click here! 

Facility, Skilled Support & Companion Dogs

A Facility Therapy Dog has many proven benefits in health care, senior living and educational settings.  Facility Dogs enhance the quality of life by providing unconditional love and permanent companionship on a full time basis, 24/7. TDU's Skilled Support Dog (Animal-Assisted Therapy) Placement Program helps residents and students better manage their daily lives.  Our dogs help with physical rehabilitation and encourage clients to engage in physical activities.  The ultimate goal is to regain health, independence and mobility.  Skilled Support Dogs work well with individuals dealing with behavioral, emotional or cognitive challenges, Autism, or Down Syndrome.  We can also match a Companion Dog (Emotional Support Dog)with an individual suffering from depression, loneliness, or in need of companionship.  These therapy dogs are excellent partners for disabled residents who live in public or federally supported housing.   To receive a Needs Assessment Application, Email: Our waiting list is approximately 6-12 months long.

In December 2011, Therapy Dogs United helped grant a special wish to a local senior through the Twilight Wish Foundation, Erie Chapter.  To read the full story, click here.

New in 2009! 
TDU's ACE Program (Animal Care for Exceptional Children & Adults) is a research-based animal-assisted therapy and rehabilitation program that travels to participating school districts.  This research-based program is designed to help children and young adults affected by:

  • Autism
  • Down Syndrome
  • Physical injury or disability
  • Emotional or behavioral challenges
  • Cognitive loss
  • Speech or hearing difficulties

To learn more about how this program is helping our partners at the Barber National Institute, give us a call at (814) 456-DOGS.

PAL Program
Bring a therapy dog into the classroom and you will inspire a child to learn.  That's why our PAL Program is so successful with pre-school and elementary school-aged children in the arts, music and literature.  Our "Tutors with a Tail" in-school reading support program is a key component of PAL.  To read more about TDU's "Read n Feed" partner project with WSEE-TV and the Erie School District, click here.   To learn more on how this program is impacting lives, read this March 2010 article in the Erie Times News.

Bella's Brigade
Our most innovative and expansive program - Bella's Brigade is best described by two words: comfort and trust.   Our therapy dogs help open dialogue with victims of sexual or emotional abuse, or a child grieving the loss of a parent or caregiver.   Our therapy dogs lend a trusting ear that the child quickly realizes he or she can tell anything.  This crisis outreach program utilizes Occupational or "on site" therapy dogs - and offers special training and certification programs to both the volunteer handler, and the therapist/counselor.

At-Risk Families (ARF Program)
Therapy Dogs United also brings our ARF Program to homeless shelters and group homes to help children deal with tough emotional times.  This research-based program stresses the importance of humane treatment and compassion for all animals, and teaches the importance of give back by sharing our pets with others in need.  We introduce these young adults basic obedience training, and animal safety.   

Packs Program
Our PACKS Program (Prevent Attacks with Care, Kindness and Safety) is an educational program designed to develop responsible pet owners and compassion toward animals.  Our Pet Educators emphasize responsible pet ownership, including basic pet care and lessons in animal humanity.  We strive to teach people of all ages basic information about the many ways animals (and people) communicate, and use the unique human-animal bond to teach pet responsibility and respect.   By learning what to watch and listen for, we can handle animals with much greater safety and communicate more effectively.

Our Animal Communication and Bite Prevention program teaches children how to safely approach a dog.  The goal is to reduce the number of dog-bite injuries and emotional scars affecting children; lower medical costs; provide fewer insurance claims associated with dog bites; and a decrease the number of dogs euthanized for biting children who may have unknowingly provoked them.

Our programs offer interactive presentations for mainstream students, ages K-12, and special needs children and adults.  Each program is tailored to meet the audience age level and interest, and can be customized to compliment specific subjects.  These presentations are available for groups of any kind, including schools, clubs, homeschooled groups, and community organizations. 

To request additional information on any of our programs, call (814) 456-3647, or Email:

All of our programs advance our Mission Statement:  Therapy Dogs United, Inc. inspires physical rehabilitation and therapeutic healing through exploration of the unique animal-to-human bond and the use of interactive animal-assisted therapy and humane education.