Studies suggest pet therapy can influence psychological, emotional and physical well-being.
ATP therapy dog serves many functions… For a sick child, it may be a calming comfort and diversion from the day while in the hospital. For a senior, a pet may bring back memories of a dog or cat they may have owned many years ago.
Many of these people may not have a lot of visitors and time passes slowly for them. A visit by a therapy pet brings a warm welcome and smile to their faces. For patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other locations, the visit of a therapy dog is a healing event.
Therapy dogs are often times used in schools and libraries to help children enjoy reading. Children are encouraged to read aloud to the therapy dog. Some research suggests that there is a powerful impact from reading aloud to an animal who is accepting and loving.
ATP therapy pets (dog specific) visit the USO –San Diego and give our military members a chance to interact with them. They are able to relax, think about other things or reflect on a dog they may have left behind.
Are other types of animals capable of becoming a therapy pet besides dogs?
Yes. The most common therapy pets are dogs, but other pets such as rabbits, cats, horses and birds may be used.
How do I know if my dog or other animal could be a therapy pet?
The most important attribute for a therapy dog is a willingness and “love” to be around people. Temperament and personality are important ingredients.
Therapy dogs must be obedient and have good social skills (don’t startle easily, respond to quiet and calm commands, and positive social interaction with other people and animals).
Other animals, such as cats and rabbits must be able to sit calmly and enjoy being handled by strangers.
How is a therapy pet different from a service animal?
Therapy pets are not service animals and do not receive the same considerations under the Americans With Disability Act. The easiest distinction between them is to recognize service animals serve their handler while therapy pets serve other people.
Why join American Therapy Pets?
American Therapy Pets is committed to providing the highest quality of service for the people we visit. We provide support and information to our members that ultimately leads to a confident and successful team.
We are available for any help or support that is requested or required. We strive to be caring, open to suggestions, ready and available to meet "unique" needs, and will facilitate the right pet fit for the service requested.
Our teams are trained and insured. Visits to client sites receive tailored service to best meet the needs of our clients. Our goal is to ensure a positive experience for everyone.
ATP actively looks for opportunities for new and varied locations and offers a variety of ways to work with your therapy animal.
How do I join ATP and what are the costs?
APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS: From our research most therapy pet associations have similar requirements.
Preliminary obedience and therapy skill training before taking the Therapy Pet Evaluation is something all owners and handlers should complete. This can be done on your own, if you have the skill sets, or it may require the assistance of a professional trainer. You should discuss the requirements for ATP certification with an ATP Evaluator.
We have recommended trainer(s) and evaluator(s) who can assist you if needed (See our “About Us” page). The cost may vary depending upon the level of training required. Contact ATP if you would like one of our trainer(s) or evaluator(s) to contact you.
Applying for Full Membership with ATP is a three-step process.
First, an application must be submitted and approved along with the appropriate fees. You must also complete a background check. ATP provides limited liability coverage when conducting visits. Since we interact with the general public, elderly and children, our insurance underwriter requires each member to complete the background check requirement.
The costs of the background check and application fees are a one-time non-refundable expense. Fees are explained in the application package.
Second, you must provide an AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate (for canines only). You must also pass the ATP Therapy Pet Evaluation. A copy of the AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate must be provided prior to or at the time of taking the ATP Therapy Pet Evaluation.
Information regarding the AKC Canine Good Citizen (AKC-CGC) certification may be found on the AKC website (search for Canine Good Citizen or CGC in their search window) or you may contact ATP to determine if they have an AKC-CGC evaluator available.
You must successfully complete the CGC course, file your results with the AKC, and receive your AKC CGC Certificate. There may be a cost associated with getting your AKC CGC certificate.
Third, the applicant must complete and accept the ATP policy and procedures and release forms.
ATP offers three levels of membership. Applications for Full Membership (Handler and Therapy Pet), Associate Membership (No Therapy Pet, just a supporting member) and Volunteer Membership (donate time to help during certain events and other support services) can be found on our “Join ATP” page.
COSTS: The cost to become an ATP Therapy Pet Team is competitive with other therapy pet organizations.
The ATP Application provides the applicant with two payment options.
Membership Fees for full members are prorated based upon when you apply and are in addition to the Application Fees. Associate Membership fees are a flat fee independent upon when a member joins. There is no fee for Volunteer members unless a background check is required.
Upon review of a full member application and acceptance (Step one), applicant moves to the second step, screening and evaluations. The AKC certification and costs are separate and not included in any of
the ATP fees.
As of October 2017 the ATP Therapy Pet Evaluation fee is $20. This fee is paid directly to the ATP evaluator for their services. This fee is not included in the ATP Application or Membership fees.
Step three is completion and acceptance of the ATP Policy and Procedures and Release forms. There is no ATP fee associated with this step. Step three can be completed and the forms submitted along with a copy of the AKC certificate and ATP Therapy Pet Evaluation forms that were completed in Step two.
If you have questions, please feel free to mail us at American Therapy Pets Inc., 2725 Congress St., Suite 2C, San Diego, CA 92110 or e-mail at email@example.com.