Become a Volunteer Tester/Observer for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs

How Do I Become a Volunteer Tester/Observer for ATD?

Helping Others to Become Members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs

Would you like to help others experience the satisfaction you feel when you take your dog on a pet therapy visit? If you do, you have an opportunity to take the concept of “Sharing Smiles and Joy” to new heights by becoming Volunteer Tester/Observer.

Our T/O’s must know and follow all of ATD’s rules and regulations and be able to convey them to new and prospective members as well as be capable of communicating effectively and tactfully with people.

Who Makes a Good Volunteer Tester/Observer?

Helping Others Share Smiles & Joy

  • A Member of ATD for at least 6 months

  • Courteous, Professional & Patient

  • Comfortable in handling matters such as reporting or disciplining a team

  • Experience with teaching, training, or working with dogs

Alliance of Therapy Dogs - Sharing Smiles & Joy

Medical Benefits for Volunteer Testers/Observers

ATD has a supplementary medical benefit available to tester/observers and their test dogs, provided the test dog is owned or handled by the T/O and is or was a therapy dog registered with ATD. T/O’s may apply for this benefit only if the T/O and/or the test dog suffers bodily injury from testing or observing applicants, regardless of whether the injury is caused by the dog or the handler being tested/observed. The benefit will cover only medical bills and costs not covered by the T/O’s primary health insurance policy, Medicare or Medicaid and veterinary costs not covered by the test dog’s insurance policy. The T/O and/or test dog is eligible for up to $5,000.00 per incident. Any medical or veterinary costs exceeding $5,000.00 are the sole responsibility of the T/O. The following is the criteria that will qualify the T/O and/or test dog to receive this medical benefit.

Some Things to Consider

  • Being a Volunteer Tester/Observer (T/O) is a privilege granted by the ATD Board of Directors. ATD reserves the right to revoke or not to renew the status of any T/O not complying with the ATD Rules and Regulations and/or these Volunteer Tester/Observer Guidelines.
  • A T/O must be a member of ATD in good standing for a minimum of 6 months.
  • A T/O must be a minimum of 18 years of age.
  • T/O’s are expected to test and observe all breeds and mixed breeds without prejudice.
  • To maintain active T/O status, each T/O must complete the annual T/O Review.
  • T/O’s are not allowed to charge fees for testing or observing prospective members for ATD.
  • A T/O may not conduct the ATD Test exclusively for a local group or facility.
  • A T/O is required to take and return calls and/or emails from prospective members to arrange for testing.
  • A T/O shall not discriminate against anyone on the basis of race, gender, creed, sexual orientation or national origin by refusing to test any person.
  • A T/O must offer to test prospective teams within 3 months.

Ready to be a Volunteer Tester/Observer?


If you’re ready to become a T/O, please contact our headquarters for more information.


Be a Member!


Are you interested in becoming a member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs? Learn how you and your dog can to join in volunteering with visits to hospitals, special needs centers, schools, nursing homes, and other facilities.


Join the Board!


If you’re a T/O and you would like to get more involved in helping ATD, then you could serve on our Board of Directors. If you’re interested, please contact our headquarters for an application.