Dogs are incredible, loyal companions, and for those of us with the time and energy to welcome them into our lives, they enrich them beyond measure.

Some individuals, unfortunately, are unable to care for their dogs or are cruel and undeserving of their love and affection.

This is why rescue centers offer invaluable services. They give unwanted or mistreated dogs a new lease of life.

By providing cuddles, love, and affection, they transform the lives of these dogs and prepare them for their new homes.

As an international registry of certified therapy dog teams dedicated to certifying and supporting therapy dogs of all ages, breeds, and backgrounds, the Alliance of Therapy Dogs sees the potential in rescue dogs.

Many of them have the sweet, loving natures needed to become great therapy dogs and bring joy to people in a range of facilities such as hospitals, airports, schools and more.

Like rescue centers, our work relies on volunteers and donations, which is why we’re keen to showcase their services and how their success stories can link with ours.

Read on to see a selection of heart-warming stories about former rescue dogs who’ve overcome all obstacles to become therapy dogs.


Maggie was an abused dog in Lebanon, who had one ear hacked off, her eyes shot out with a shotgun and a badly damaged jaw.

When she was found by the Wild Heart Foundation she was tied up, pregnant and terrified. She went through a long process of recovery before she was eventually moved to the UK and welcomed into a new home.

Today, Maggie has transformed into an adorable therapy dog who brings smiles and love to a wide range of individuals and facilities in the UK.

She also has a popular Instagram account, where her new mum shows photos and information about Maggie to raise awareness about animal cruelty and the vital work therapy dogs do.


Taka was a happy, lovable Shiba Inu whose owners were unable to get back into their house when it went up in flames.

Luckily, Taka managed to run into a neighbor’s house. However, he was on fire at the time, so it took a lot of hard work and support to get him back on his feet.

The cost of his treatment meant that Taka’s owners signed him over to the vet who was caring for him. She nursed Taka back to health and quickly realized that he had the personality and incredible nature to become a great therapy dog.

She got him certified to work as a therapy dog once he was well enough, and she’s now hoping that he will become an inspiration for human burn victims.

He’s passed his training and is now becoming a symbol of hope online thanks to his incredible story and sweet nature.


Ted is a deaf Springer Spaniel who had been passed from home to home before he found parents who were willing and able to keep him in the long-term.

Initially, he was shy and withdrawn, but his new owners quickly realized that Ted had the potential to be a loving and happy pet. They worked hard to bring him out of his shell and help him to become the fun-loving pup he is today.

His new owners discovered that Ted was deaf, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming a loving pet. He’s helped his new owner to overcome anxiety, and he became a favorite at his dog training school because he was so kind and gentle.

He’s now a therapy dog, visiting a local dementia unit in Wales and giving out cuddles in his calm, patient way.

Ted’s work has been recognized by charities and organizations in the UK, who have given him awards and used him to raise awareness on how even the most dejected rescue dog can become a great therapy dog.


When a family visited a rescue center event right before their son’s brain surgery, they were hoping to have fun and see the pups on offer.

Leaving their son, Billy, to sit quietly by himself, his family headed off to see all of the excitable dogs looking for a new home.

They couldn’t find a dog that suited their family, so they went back to tell Billy the bad news, only to discover that he’d chosen a dog by himself.

Calm and happy, Sherman had bonded with Billy immediately. He has a chilled-out personality and a quirky tongue that pokes out, making him look friendly and silly.

After being adopted, Sherman helped the family to deal with the impact of the surgery, so once their lives were back on track, they decided to sign him up to help others.

He became a popular visitor at local nursing homes, bringing even more joy to new people thanks to his gentle and caring nature and cute face.

Sherman is now retired from his work, but his story is still an inspiration to many, and helps to prove that rescue dogs make great companions and therapy dogs!

Our Own Board Members’ Dogs!

The team at the Alliance of Therapy Dogs understands better than most that rescue dogs make great therapy dogs because we’ve got some ourselves!

Many of our board and longstanding members own rescue dogs, who have become great therapy dogs and provided support to a range of facilities.

We’ve even rescued dogs who haven’t become therapy dogs- they’re just great companions who always love a good cuddle!

Any dog has the potential to become a therapy dog; whether they’re a rescue or you’ve owned them since they were a pup. A certified therapy dog needs to have a loving, patient temperament and a great relationship with their owner.

If you’re the owner of a rescue dog in need of a new purpose in life, or you just want to find out more about our work, then call 307-432-0272 or contact us here. We love talking about our work certifying therapy dogs and providing services to facilities across the nation!