About Therapy Dogs

Serving Eugene/Springfield, Oregon

 

The idea for therapy dogs started in the late 1970's when people in medical professions observed the healing powers of dogs who visited patients.  Now therapy dog teams are found in many settings, not just in medical facilities. It is important to remember that you and your dog are a
team. You not only bring your dog for a visit, you bring yourself. Some people do like to concentrate on the dogs, but many people you will visit with also enjoy conversing with the human member of the team.

Difference between Therapy Dogs and Service Dogs

Many people are confused about the difference between therapy dogs and service dogs. Therapy dogs are dogs that visit with other people, providing affection and comfort to people who are not their owners.

Service dogs, or assistance dogs, are specially trained to help people with disabilities, such as guide dogs for the blind, mobility dogs, dogs who alert for allergens, seizures or low blood sugar, for example.

Service dogs are allowed in any place open to the public: stores, restaurants, hotels. Therapy dogs must be invited into facilities and do not have the legal rights as service dogs.

For more information, these sites can be helpful:

http://www.servicedogcentral.org/content/

http://www.nh.gov/disability/information/community/serviceanimals.htm

While the second site is from New Hampshire the information is applicable country-wide.