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Why choose Alliance of Therapy Dogs to register your dog, or to visit your facility?

Whether you and your dog are looking to become a registered therapy team, or your facility would like to start a therapy dog program, Alliance of Therapy Dogs (ATD) is at your service.  But with so many other pet therapy organizations out there, why choose Alliance of Therapy Dogs?

Our Human Members

ATD is a completely volunteer organization of dedicated therapy dog handlers and their dogs, which allows us to focus on our mission of sharing smiles and joy. ATD does not prioritize fundraising nor rely on fundraising to succeed. None of the therapy teams you see in action nor our testers who evaluate teams for registry are paid or permitted to charge fees. Even our board of directors is made up of volunteers who donate their time to our mission. Our only paid employees are our office staff. This keeps our membership costs low, with no cost to facilities.

Our Canine Members

ATD is focused on the well-being and behavior of your dog, regardless of age or breed.
  • We look for well-mannered, well-behaved dogs that enjoy meeting people. Many ATD dogs were socialized and trained just by their owners, others have formal training.
  • While obedience training can be useful in a therapy setting, ATD does not require formal training, certifications or tests other than our own.
  • All dogs tested for therapy registration must have had an annual veterinary exam, be up to date on vaccines and have a negative fecal exam in the last year.
  • There is no restriction on diets or supplements given our canine members.  Dogs may also be fed treats on therapy dog visits, so long as the facility also allows treats.
  • ATD is open to register any breed of dog, except wolf or coyote mixes. 


How Does ATD Evaluate Teams?

ATD uses a unique testing process that involves a handling test and three observed visits in a facility. Other organizations may only test a team one time, which fails to evaluate the team over a period of time. The ATD T/O will do an initial evaluation called the handling portion of the test. It is designed to make sure you and your dog have a good relationship with one another, that your dog has the right temperament for therapy dog work and is polite. This initial evaluation is followed by three observations where the team will visit a facility (or various facilities) with the T/O. During this time, the T/O will instruct the team in the art of visiting, offering advice and guidance while observing the team in action. By the end of this process the T/O has seen the team, not just for one snapshot in time, but on at least 3 separate occasions in different situations. If all is well, the T/O will pass the team and recommend them for registration with ATD.

How Much Does it Cost to Be a Member?

Registration is very affordable. For $30 a year (plus an initial one-time $10 new member fee), a team can be registered with ATD and covered by our insurance in order to share in the mission of sharing smiles and joy with their dog.

Are There Any Dietary Restrictions?

ATD does not dictate what you feed your dog.  Your dog’s diet is up to you and your veterinarian.

Where Do ATD Teams Visit?

ATD does not restrict where our teams visit. ATD teams may or may not choose to be members of local therapy dog groups. They may participate in nation-wide therapy dog initiatives with organizations like the Red Cross and R.E.A.D.  We allow our members to visit with teams who may be registered with other organizations. Our teams provide therapy in many settings, including but not limited to airports, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, rehab facilities, mental health institutions, schools, hospitals, cancer centers, hospice facilities, college campuses and can also provide therapy in patients’ homes. The bottom line is if there is a person in need, an ATD team can be there to help.

In summary, why choose ATD?

  1. We are an organization dedicated to volunteering.
  2. We register dogs that enjoy meeting people and are under the handler’s control, whether or not they have had formal training.
  3. There are no limitations on where or when you can visit.
  4. We are affordable, so everyone may participate.
  5. We have a unique four-step evaluating process to assess and coach the team.
  6. We do not dictate your dog’s diet and allow members to give treats to their dogs on visits.
  7. We allow our members to go on visits with teams from other organizations.
  8. Even if there is no Tester/Observer in your area, there is still a process to become an ATD registered team.

How do I move forward with Alliance of Therapy Dogs?

How Can I Become a Member?

There are never enough therapy dogs to meet demand, so we are excited you’re interested in joining the mission! Visit the Become a Member page. Look over the test and find a Tester/Observer near you to begin the process. No tester/observer in your area? There is an alternative process to become a member. Please contact the ATD office for information.

Where Do ATD Teams Visit?

Therapy dogs offer so many wonderful benefits to people. Please email office@TherapyDogs.com to request ATD teams at your facility.