What makes a therapy dog?
What is pet therapy?
A therapy animal is a pet that is trained and certified with its owner, as a team, to provide comfort and stress relief in a variety of situations.
The vast majority of therapy pets are dogs, because they can be easily trained. Therapy dogs can be any size, breed, color, shape, or gender. Primarily, they must enjoy being around people! Dogs visiting Coastal Carolina University are certified after an evaluation and practicum hours.
What about a Service Animal or Emotional Support Animal?
A Service Animal is a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability. Service Animals are legally defined and protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the ADA limits the definition of Service Animals to dogs only. Service Dogs are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. This may include a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. The work or tasks performed by a Service Dog must be directly related to the handler’s disability.
Emotional Support Animals provide therapeutic support to individuals with emotional or psychological disabilities. These companions may also be pets and may include a variety of different types of animals. ESAs are not individually trained to perform specific tasks, or recognize signs or symptoms, like Service Dogs are. Emotional Support Animals do not require special training and their primary role is to provide emotional comfort, companionship, and affection to their owner.