Hi everyone:Therapy Dogs Briefly, therapy animals work with a health-care professional as part of a treatment plan. Dogs that do visitation are also commonly called "therapy dogs". Neither of these usually has access to public places.
This can be confusing, because sometimes people call dogs "service dogs", claiming that they are entitled to that label because they provide a "service" for people. You can call a dog whatever you like, but the fact is that no federal law (and very few state laws) allow access with that type of "service" dog. Service Dogs Dogs that assist people with disabilities are termed "Assistance Dogs" or "Service Dogs". Those dogs actually need to do something to help with the disability. In return, they are allowed anywhere you could take another medical device, such as a wheelchair. The dogs may or may not do actual physical work for their handlers; for example, some deaf people use very small dogs who can alert them to sounds.
A person who has a disability and uses a dog to help compensate for abilities lost as a result, is guaranteed the right to be accompanied by that dog in any place where the public is usually invited. This right is guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which is a (US) federal law. Some (US) states also have laws concerning access with a Service Dog. The state laws may include restrictions as far as equipment that must be used, certification, trainers, and so on. The rule is that where the federal law allows you more rights, it prevails. Exerpt from: http://www.petsandpeople.org/difference.htm
We've been asked some questions about Therapy Dogs and felt this would be the ideal area to include the discussion in this forum.
Bailey has been certified for both types of work. When I originally got her it was for companionship and I always had the intent to train her for Therapy Work. We were looking at the R.E.A.D. Program specifically at the time but she's been trained for general therapy work. Due to our professional affiliations Bailey has had the honour to serve in a more structured theraputic program in addition to general visitation work. We also work with disabled children on specific skills pertaining to Gross/Fine motor tasks, Sensory Integrative Skills and general Social and Community Skills. While we were pursuing the Theraputic side of service ... it became evident that we were in need of a Service Animal and the decision was made to train Bailey to be my service dog as well.
Some people use the terms Service Dog and Therapy Dog interchangabley ( it marvels me that we could have spent so many years working in the education field and still can't spell worth a darn!) but there is a distinct difference between the two classifications. Therapy Dogs are not generally awarded universal access the way Service Dogs are and the duties they perform are different, although there is some common ground as well.
It's some what of a paradox to me but it is actually more difficult to have one's dog certified for Therapy work then it is for Service Dog status.
Instead of trying to write them all out here myself, I'll be putting up some links to sites that list the types of tasks Therapy Dogs perform, skills they need to be able to master to be certified, etc. As always, questions and comments are very welcome and we know there are other owner/handlers within the community here that have expertise in this area as well and hope everyone will come and lend the benefit of their knowledge/expertise and experiences to the discussions here. I'm by no means an absolute expert and don't have all the answers but, I can usually find the resources that provide the answers.
Looking forward to hearing from everyone and more discussions about everyone's working dogs/animals ( Has anyone seen/heard about the fact that they're now training the miniature horses for Guide Animal work and other services ... that is just so amazing ... those little horses are actually smaller than some of the larger dog breeds and have proven to be excellent service animals as well ).
Take care all: Hivin