AKC Title Recognition Program

For the past few decades, the use of emotional support animals has gained traction for helping with emotional and psychological disorders. One of the animals commonly used by people is the dog, also known as man’s best friend. There are many reasons why owning a dog is benefit to your physical and mental health.

There has been a rise in therapy dog groups. With this rise, there is a need to screen them to see how well they provide education to their volunteers and if they can provide liability insurance during therapy setting in which both the dog and handler are present.

The American Kennel Club has launched programs, which gives titles to your therapy dog if they hit certain training, such as the “Canine Good Citizen” and the “Search and Rescue.” Below is a list describing five organizations that not only had a hand in creating this title recognition program with the American Kennel Club, but also are at the top of their class.

Alliance of Therapy Dogs (formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc.)

The Alliance of Therapy Dogs is a national registry that has over 14,000 members across the United States, Canada, and neighboring U.S. territories. It was started in 1990 in Wyoming, but has since expanded throughout the United States.

Per the mission statement, The Alliance of Therapy Dogs, “provides registration, support, and insurance for members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities. These activities include, but are not limited to, visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, and nursing homes.” The Alliance of Therapy Dogs created a network of individuals who are able to go with their pets to help other with special needs, such as emotional or psychological disorders.

Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs

The Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. is a nonprofit organization which creates teams of therapy dogs and their owners by testing, training, and qualifying them in order for them to give out help.

Based out of New Jersey, Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs sends out their therapy teams to different states, including Texas and California. They recognize the impact that therapy pets have on people and never charge for their teams to go out and visit. As an all volunteer organization, they visit seniors, pediatrics, and people in rehabilitation centers to spread the cheerfulness of their beloved animals.

Love on a Leash

Love on a Leash is a nonprofit organization based out of Southern California. They provide opportunities for volunteer pet therapy teams to go out and deliver animal assisted therapy.

Love on a Leash began in the 1980s in San Diego, CA, but has now spread over the United States consisting of over 2000 members. With the mindset that an emotional support animal is there to brighten somebody’s day, their teams go out to different areas—schools, nursing homes, hospitals—to provide emotional support to those in need. They also attempt to educate the public about the importance of therapy pets.

Pet Partners (previously Delta Society)

Pet Partners, founded in 1977, is the largest nonprofit organization which organizes and evaluates handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams providing Animal-Assisted Interactions. They are at the forefront of animal education and always looking to better themselves in order to grow and help out as many people as possible.

Pet Partners do not solely focus on dogs, but also has teams which consist of cats, llamas/alpacas, horses, rabbits, rats, guinea pigs, miniature pigs, and birds. They do not limit their education to just those interested in volunteering, but allow the general public to access their coursework to see the type of work they do and how they use the animals to treat people.

Therapy Dogs International (TDI)

Therapy dogs International, founded in 1976 in New Jersey, is a volunteer organization which establishes and trains dogs and their owners for the purpose of providing emotional support. As of now, they have over 25,000 dogs able to assist people who are in need.

As a nonprofit organization, Therapy Dogs International uses only volunteer teams. They welcome all types of dogs as long as they can pass the health requirements. It is also the eldest of therapy dog organization and employs emotional support teams across the United State and Canada.

Together, these organizations have created standards for the American Kennel Club. If you have any questions about the use of emotional support animal, read more our our FAQ Page