About Us


Our Mission

To enhance the lives of children and adults by achieving specific physical, cognitive, social, or emotional goals through the use of certified pet therapy teams.

Our Vision

Canine Assisted Therapy’s vision is to be recognized as the premier pet therapy organization by developing and utilizing the highest standards possible, educating the public about the benefits of animal assisted therapy and animal assisted activities, and providing continued support to its volunteers and facilities.

Our History

Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc., was founded in 2009 by Debra Berger and Joanne Jurgle with the goal of becoming the leading pet therapy organization nationally. Both Ms. Berger and Ms. Jurgle had provided animal assisted therapy prior to founding C.A.T., but soon realized there was an opportunity to improve the safety, effectiveness, and efficiency of pet therapy services in South Florida.

Determined they could offer a “better product,” Ms. Berger and Ms. Jurgle developed the highest evaluation and certification standards in the nation for volunteer pet therapy. In less than five years, C.A.T. grew from a home office and two therapy teams (Debra and Dillon, her 150-pound Leonberger, and Joanne and Chance, her loving Golden Retriever) to a 2,000 square foot office in Oakland Park, with 120 certified therapy teams providing services to more than 60 facilities, primarily in South Florida. Dillon has since Crossed the Rainbow Bridge but his legacy lives on in the CAT organization.

Enhancing lives through Pet Therapy!

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” [Confucius] And so it was for Dillon Berger and Chance Jurgle, cofounding therapy dogs – along with their handlers Debra Berger and Joanne Jurgle – of Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. While Dillon has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and Chance is retired now, Dillon and Chance were there at the beginning, as friends and...

"Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies"
- Gene Hill

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