A remarkable history


  • The founder and then president of VTHS, Ursula Sissener, first comes into contact with animal assisted therapy in the United States.



  • The first VTHS training group for therapy dog teams is developed at the Canine Education Association of Zug and Surroundings.
  • A training concept is developed in conjunction with two dog trainers as well as a veterinarian.
  • The first educational seminar in Switzerland with Dr. sc. Dennis C. Turner takes place.



  • The inaugural group passes the "Delta Tests" and the teams are licensed by The Delta Society USA (The largest ecological association in the United States, with a major emphasis on humans/animals/nature founded in 1977)
  • An entrance exam is established
  • Further education of the VTHS president in the USA.
  • Preparation of a scientific study under the leadership of Dr. sc. Dennis C. Turner.



  • Five VTHS teams participate in the study prepared in 1993 in retirement and assisted living homes.
  • The VTHS has a new logo!
  • Official establishment of the organization in December with 37 founding members.
  • Development of teaching materials for therapy team education, and well as team trainer education. Establishment of an exam protocol for judges as well as exam directors.



  • Participation of the VTHS at an international conference in Geneva. Presentation of Dr. sc. Turner's study.
  • The final exam for prospective therapy dogs teams is notably expanded.



  • First team trainer continuing education seminar.
  • The first of five intensive educational weeks for therapy dog teams.
  • First therapy dog course held in a host institution (Wagerenhof, Uster, Foundation for emotionally and multiply physically challenged adults).



  • International registration of the VTHS logo.
  • Assistance provided by the VTHS for the establishment of new therapy dog educational programs in Northern Germany as well as in Western Switzerland.
  • Inaugural edition of the VTHS newsletter "DOG".



  • Participation at the IAHAIO Conference in Prague
  • Continuing improvement of educational methods.
  • Education at all levels (teams, team trainers, judges, and board members).
  • Expansion and redevelopment of the board to seven members.



  • The VTHS is awarded the Doron Prize.
  • An electronic database is established.



  • The VTHS is accepted as an IAHAIO Member (worldwide umbrella organization in the field of the human-animal bond.
  • Assistance provided for the establishment of a therapy dog organization in Southern Germany.
  • First bilingual course in the Tessin.
  • Addition of a VTHS secretary.



  • Complete revision of all educational materials for the third time since 1994.
  • The website www.therapiehunde.ch is online.



  • Our logo is now trilingual.
  • Continuing education on all levels.



  • Participation at the IAHIO Conference in Glasgow.
  • A commemorative brochure and history are published in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of the VTHS.
  • Diverse commemorative events.
  • Ursula Sissener steps down, and Peggy Hug is elected as new president.



  • DOG is now accessible online.



  • The VTHS is awarded the Red Cross Prize for 2008.



  • For our 15 year anniversary a commemorative brochure is published.
  • The VTHS is awarded the Tierwelt Prize
  • HakleĀ© launches a supportive charitable program, and the VTHS is named as a beneficiary.



  • Our new website is available in three national languages (German, French, and Italian) www.therapiehunde.ch.
  • The HakleĀ© fundraising program is renewed.



  • 87 new therapy dog teams graduate from 10 different locations in the German speaking part of Switzerland and well as in the Tessin.
  • Total membership reaches 1200 active and passive members.



  • Our active teams are recognized by the SBB as service dogs which allows these dogs free public transport.



  • The VTHS is recognized as a full member of the IAHAIO.
  • DOG is published in color.
  • An informational bulletin is published in German and Italian.
  • A VTHS sponsor, the Hatt-Bucher-Stiftung, enables the purchase of VTHS stuffed animal mascots, and the Professor Otto Belsheim Stiftung sponsors the distribution of Qualipet gift certificates.



  • Under the project Future Development of the VTHS, a survey is sent out.
  • For the World Animal Day 2014, Migros names the VTHS as a beneficiary of their fundraiser.
  • The VTHS celebrates our 20 year anniversary with a small party held at Wagerenhof.



  • In commemoration of the 20 year anniversary, a celebratory brochure is published, sponsored by the Hatt-Bucher Stiftung.



  • The new website is launched in three national languages: German, French and Italian, as well as in English.