Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc., is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in August 2009 to provide canine companionship for those in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice organizations. With 130-plus therapy teams, C.A.T.’s dedicated and passionate volunteers now serve more than 100 facilities annually, primarily throughout South Florida. To learn more read about the types of facilities and populations served, read Performing Canine Magic!
Therapy dogs and their handlers must be certified by C.A.T. before volunteering in one of the more than 150 C.A.T.-approved facilities. Before applying for the evaluation and certification process, a potential therapy dog must be one year of age and have passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test. To see a complete list of the requirements, read Basic Certification.
At C.A.T. we welcome all breeds, sizes, and ages of dogs (at least one year old), as long as the dog/handler (the therapy team) can pass the rigorous evaluation and certification process. Interested handlers must first attend an orientation to learn more about the requirements to become a certified therapy team, i.e., to determine if it’s “right for you and your dog!” To learn more read How to Become a Certified C.A.T. Volunteer Team.
After attending the orientation, we invite you to complete one of our assessments to determine if you and your dog have the right temperament and skills to become an effective therapy team. We’ve recently started CGC Test and/or C.A.T.-certification preparation classes if your dog has already passed the CGC Test. You’re also welcome to attend other training classes in the community and have your dog evaluated by an official AKC-CGC Evaluator. We believe very strongly in positive dog training methods and ask you to consider your community trainer carefully. To learn more read Training & Certifications.
If your dog has already passed the CGC Test, it may take only a few weeks to become certified by C.A.T., assuming you and your dog exhibit the right temperament and skills to become a therapy team. After passing the rigorous C.A.T. evaluation and certification process, you will be mentored in the field by one of our trained mentors to ensure you’re ready to work on your own.If your dog has not passed the CGC Test, you may need to take several obedience classes prior to registering for the test, which could take several months. Even if you haven’t yet passed the test, you are welcome to attend our orientation to learn more about becoming a C.A.T.-certified therapy team and to determine if we have training available that will meet your needs.
Yes, but only if you and your dog have obtained an Advanced Certification and have been approved by C.A.T. to work with children. To learn more read Advanced Certification.
This is completely dependent on the specific therapy team and there are no known national averages. We have C.A.T.-certified therapy dogs that have been volunteering in the community since our founding in 2009. As your dog ages, he/she may begin to exhibit signs he is no longer enjoying therapy work, at which time C.A.T. staff will help you determine if your dog is ready to retire.
Either call C.A.T. at 954-990-5175 or complete the Contact Us Form and one of our staff/volunteers will follow up with you to discuss your needs. Each facility must complete an application and site visit prior to approval.
Yes, if you have a special skill or interest and would like to discuss volunteer opportunities, please complete the Contact Us Form and one of our staff/volunteers will follow up with you to discuss our current needs. Whatever your interest or passion, we have an opportunity for you! To learn more read Volunteer.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, C.A.T. is funded by generous contributions from individuals; gifts from businesses and community organizations; grants from corporations and foundations; and ongoing fundraising activities such as special events and online activities. To learn more about opportunities for supporting C.A.T., read Give.
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
- Gilda Radner