Therapy Animals of San Antonio

 Bringing People and Animals Together for Healing

 Bringing People and Animals Together for Healing

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What Makes a Good Therapy Animal?

Sweet, Friendly & Gentle Animals (approved species)


How Old Must a Therapy Dog or Cat Be?
A therapy dog or cat must be at least one-year-old.

What Type of Breed Makes a Good Therapy Dog?
Any dog of any breed or mix of breeds can be a therapy dog.

Does a Therapy Dog Have to Know Commands or Tricks?
A therapy dog doesn’t have to perform any tricks or know any special commands such as “fetch.” However, therapy dogs must listen to their handlers and know basic obedience.

What Type of Temperament Should a Therapy Dog Have?
Therapy dogs need to have a calm and gentle disposition. They must be good around other dogs, calm when strangers pet them all over, not jump on others, walk on a leash without pulling, and not startled by things such as strange noises, smells, and medical equipment.

Does a Therapy Dog Need Good Health?
A therapy dog must be current on all vaccines required by the local laws, have a negative fecal test every 12 months, and be clean and well groomed for each visit.

Do Therapy Dogs Need a Special Diet?
No. TASA doesn’t restrict member’s choices regarding what they feed to their canine team partners. If a team chooses to register through the national organization, Pet Partners, there are restrictions on raw food diets.

Is a Therapy Dog a Service or Assistance Animal?
No. Therapy dogs don’t have the legal access rights that service or assistance dogs have. NOTE: If a member misrepresents that their therapy dog is a service or assistance dog, they’ve violated TASA’s Rules and Regulations and they’ve put their membership and the integrity of TASA at risk.

What is a therapy animal?
A therapy animal is a pet who is controllable, reliable and predictable. The animal has good manners in public and is comfortable in unfamiliar environments and with new people. Common therapy animals are dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, pot bellied pigs, and horses. A therapy animal is NOT a service animal, an emotional support animal, nor a working animal.

What is a therapy team?
A therapy team is a human volunteer and his/her pet. The human side of the team has participated in a training class and the team has passed an evaluation meeting certain minimum requirements to be a team with a Local or Pet Partners® registration.

What are animal-assisted activities?
Animal-assisted activities (AAA) provide opportunities for motivational, educational, and/or recreational benefits to enhance a person’s quality of life. As an example, an individual takes his or her dog to a long-term care facility to visit the residents. Although the staff might be involved in the visits, no treatment goals have been set for the visit, and aside from signing in and out, no records are kept.

What is animal-assisted therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy is goal-directed intervention. An animal is incorporated as an integral part of the clinical treatment process. Staff is always involved and records are kept to track the patient’s progress. As an example, a person who has had a stroke brushes a dog, clips a leash on and off, and buckles a dog’s collar to improve fine motor skills.

What is a service animal?
A service animal is a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. Service dogs may go with the person who has disabilities into places where the public normally goes.

What is an emotional support animal?
An emotional support animal is an animal (usually a dog or cat but can be other species) that gives a therapeutic benefit to its owner through companionship.

What is a working dog?
A working dog is a dog that has been trained to perform certain tasks such as herding, protection, drug detection, or search and rescue.