A therapy dog is a friend to everyone! A certified therapy dog is extremely patient and loving - and provides great companionship. Therapy Dogs United, Inc. brings only the best-natured, and most well-trained dogs to your location, free of charge. Reliability and training is the backbone of our agency.
We visit hospitals, rehabilitation and hospice facilities; schools, senior centers, nursing communities, homeless shelters, homes for youth at-risk, bereavement centers and beyond. Our successful outreach programs are tailored to meet your specific needs ... and our programs are growing every day. If you're looking for emotional or physical support, you've come to the right place. Anyone can benefit from the unique animal-to-human bond. It's not just our mission; it's our personal commitment to you.
Sometimes a therapy dog just sits or lies quietly while being pet - listening to story after story about a nursing home resident's former dog. Sometimes a therapy dog will visit an elementary school to help teach children about the humane care of animals, or join in during story time to help relax the group. But, did you know that a therapy dog can help a child to learn? A child who has difficulty reading is the perfect candidate to curl up alongside a therapy dog to enjoy a good book. Our independent studies prove that children find the non-judgmental ears of a therapy dog the perfect choice to hone and improve their reading skills.
A therapy dog may also work with disabled or autistic children.
In a hospital setting, a therapy dog might visit patients in pediatrics, oncology, or even hospice centers. Many therapy dogs certified by Therapy Dogs United have been invited to visit a hospital's emergency room because of the calming effect our dogs can have on patients, doctors, nurses and staff members working in the high-stress environment.
Visiting with a therapy dog can help you feel less lonely or less depressed. People are more active and responsive both during - and after - a visit with animals. Medical studies and clinical research show that a therapy dog can not only have medical benefits - such as stress relief, or lower blood pressure - but provide a sense of comfort, confidence, and companionship.
We require that any therapy dog candidate be at least one year old. Unfortunately, newly adopted dogs are unable to take the Therapy Dog (TD) portion of our exam. You are required to prove ownership of your dog showing 6 months or longer before you are eligible to schedule your Therapy Dog (TD) exam.
We also require that your dog has a current rabies vaccination and current dog license, and your dog is free of ticks and fleas. Some of our Member Agencies may require a bi-annual fecal check or that your dog is not on a raw meat diet.
We also require that all dogs pass both the CGC and TD evaluation on a slip, flat buckle or Martingale collar or a standard body harness with the leash attaching to ring on the dog's back (no jump harness or pull harness is permitted). Our acceptable equipment requirements are the same as the AKC's CGC candidate requirements.
Ready to become a certified therapy dog team?
To schedule your dog for the Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC) or the Therapy Dog (TD) Evaluation in Erie PA, please schedule directly with our Evaluator Hannah Ernst via phone at (814) 547-8091 or via Email at: email@example.com
Our testing location is Stairways Behavioral Health, 2185 West 8th Street, 2nd Floor, Erie PA. We only evaluate potential therapy dogs October - May.
Consider these questions before scheduling your therapy dog exam:
Not all dogs, even the most obedient and even-tempered dogs, pass the Canine Good Citizen test and the Therapy Dog Evaluation. In fact, more than half of the dogs tested do not pass both requirements the first time. There is no limit as to the number of times a potential therapy dog can be tested for either the CGC or TDU Therapy Dog (TD) Evaluation. There is no waiting period in-between testing should your dog fail to pass one or both evaluations. It is not required that both evaluations be taken on the same day. A dog, however, must pass both the CGC and the TDU Therapy Dog (TD) Evaluation to be certified as a therapy dog with Therapy Dogs United.
Yes, provided you are an eligible therapy dog volunteer. In June of 2011, TDU was approved as a Therapy Dog Certification agency through the American Kennel Club. Being recognized by the AKC means that we are able to verify the eligibility requirements of any therapy dog certified through our organization for the official AKC Therapy Dog Title.
Eligibility Requirements for the AKC Therapy Dog Title
To earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, you and your dog must meet the following criteria:
All dogs are eligible to earn the AKC Therapy Dog title, including purebreds and mixed breeds. Get more information on the AKC Therapy Dog Title.
Please consider the following questions to decide if being a therapy dog volunteer is the right fit for you:
Every person certified as a Volunteer Handler with Therapy Dogs United is required to undergo a Pennsylvania Child Abuse Background check or a background check for your State. Depending on where you visit, may be required to undergo a Criminal Background Check as well. When volunteering, all handlers are required to wear a photo identification badge and your dog is required to wear his/her blue embroidered therapy dog vest.
Newly certified TDU members (Erie Chapter) are also required to attend a New Volunteer orientation within two weeks of certification. Failure to do so could result in removal from our organization. As a new volunteer, you are encouraged to participate in our mentoring program, which matches up a new volunteer with an experienced volunteer for at least 3 months. New volunteers are encouraged to make your first scheduled visit with a seasoned TDU volunteer. To schedule this orientation, please call our Erie office at (814) 456-3647.
You are required to make no less than six scheduled visits annually with Therapy Dogs United to be considered an active volunteer in good standing. If you leave our organization for any reason, or your dog passes on, you are required to return your therapy dog vest to our agency within 15 days to avoid legal prosecution.
Volunteers representing Therapy Dogs United may not represent two therapy dog organizations - meaning, if you volunteer with Therapy Dogs United, you are not able to volunteer with a second local or nationally-recognized therapy dog organization.
A therapy dog certified with Therapy Dogs United is certified for the good of the public at large, not the private use of an individual, either with, or without, a disability.
We do not certify our therapy dogs for an individual's personal/private use (example: companion therapy dog in a private home, anxiety therapy dog in a private home, psychiatric therapy dog in a private home, etc.)
If your housing status requires certification that your dog is certified as a therapy dog for your personal/private use and/or needs, please do not contact our office for this certification or verification. We are not only unable to provide this type of verification, but the request does not reflect TDU's policies, procedures or mission.
No. A certified therapy dog is not a Service Dog.
A certified therapy dog is not a service dog, therefore, neither the dog nor the handler has the same rights as a service dog team. Therapy dogs are not recognized by the American's with Disabilities Act (ADA) and do not have public access rights.
We are also unable to certify a registered Service Dog as a certified therapy dog (dual purpose). We do not allow registered Service Dogs to work in our programs while assisting the handler's individual needs. If you require assistance by a Service Dog and want to volunteer with us as well, we are unable to assist you.
NO. Therapy Dogs United, Inc. only certifies therapeutic visitation and animal-assisted therapy dogs for visits with the public at large. Our certification processes does not fall under the service or guide dog classification, meaning - our every therapy dog evaluated and certified by us will not have public access rights, or the same rights, responsibilities and privileges as a Service Dog or Emotional Support Dog (including PTSD or Psychiatric Support Dog).
A therapy dog registered and certified by Therapy Dogs United, Inc., is NOT recognized by the ADA (American with Disabilities Act), therefore, does not have access to public places, such as shopping centers, restaurants or public transportation. A therapy dog certified with Therapy Dogs United is NOT to be referred to, considered or identified as, a Service, Guide, Emotional Support, Medical Alert or Mobility Support dog. We do not certify therapy dogs for individuals suffering from an illness or a disability.
Our programs benefit the public at large, not an individual or private use.
$15 - Canine Good Citizen Test (made payable to Hannah Ernst)
$50 - Therapy Dog Evaluation (made payable to Therapy Dogs United)
$75 - TDU embroidered vest and ID badge (made payable to Therapy Dogs United)
To schedule your test in Erie, PA call Hannah Ernst at (814) 547-8091 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes! We have a need for volunteers without a certified therapy dog. We welcome the opportunity to meet you!
For more information, please contact us.
On average, you can expect a typical visit to last 40 minutes to one hour. Some programs require visits to be made by more than one therapy dog team. Most scheduled visits take place in a community room where interested patients or residents have gathered - or are visits are made room-by-room.
We are proud to honor all visitation requests in a public setting. Due to liability concerns, we do not offer private, or in home visits.
The door of our Erie office are always open to the public for a visit! If you have a group willing and able to travel to our office, we welcome your visit. For kids, we have a reading library with dozens of books. For adults, we have a conference room to gather. Please call our Erie office to find out more (814) 456-3647.
While our team of dedicated volunteers strive to make every therapy dog visit the most pleasurable experience possible, and it is highly unlikely an unfavorable incident may occur, we cannot predict the future. If you or your workplace has an unfortunate experience, please report it immediately to our office by calling (814) 456-3647. We will assist you in filing an incident report to be reviewed by our management team.