Just some of the places therapy dogs visit include seniors' homes, children’s hospitals, cancer agencies, and school reading programs. Organizations like St. John Ambulance are always looking for people who wish to volunteer with their dogs. Both the dog and their guardian must go through testing to get started; if your dog is laid back and not easily ruffled, chances are he’ll pass! Volunteers and their dogs are generally expected to provide regular visits in order to develop a bond with their designated patients.

Get started! In Canada, check out sja.ca or call your local St. John Ambulance chapter; In the US, check out therapydogsunited.com.

Want your very own super-cute 2015 Therapy Dog calendar from which the photo above is taken? It supports the amazing work of St. John Ambulance. Get yours at: shopsafetyproducts.ca

Therapy Dog programs improve lives on a daily basis, providing unconditional love, support, and happiness to individuals who may feel disconnected from loved ones.

Therapy Dogs Must Be:
• Accepting of a friendly stranger
• Sit calmly for petting
• Walk on a loose leash
• Walk through a crowd (including wheelchairs)
• Sit on command/stay in place
• React well to another dog or to distractions (noise, joggers…)
• Be up to date on all required vaccinations