Dogs and Friends

How a family pet becomes a therapy dog

Therapy dogs are certified dogs which, together with their owners, offer regular, strictly volunteer social service. Therapy dogs are trained together with their owners and conduct visits as a team. There are also certified professionals, for example physicians or therapists, who integrate their own therapy dogs into their professions, or who work together with other teams.

Healing is not to be expected, rather those visited often show behavior which differs from their usual interactions with other people.

The following characteristics are shown by dogs suited for therapy dog work:

- People oriented, friendly dogs.
- Dogs who accept their position in their human pack, and who orient on, and seek cues from their owners.
- Psychologically robust dogs who are resilient and can work well with sensitive, humane leadership.
- Dogs who got along well with other canines, and whose hunting instinct is well-controlled.
- Dogs who are raised in a sensitive, kind, and reliable manner.
- Physically healthy dogs.

And the following characteristics describe their owners:

Warm, empathetic persons who wish to give joy to disadvantaged, sick, or lonely people are well suited to accompany their therapy dogs as a team.

Holistic animal welfare

The VTHS promotes a holistic understanding of the natural world, and advocates the needs of dogs. Therapy dogs are family dogs. The volunteer therapy dogs visits take place for limited amounts of time. Our dogs must not be overwhelmed - only happy and relaxed dogs are successful therapy dogs. VTHS therapy dogs are are examined once a year by a veterinarian using a strict protocol, and elderly dogs are retired.