Frequently Asked Questions

Can you train my pet to be a therapy animal?

We do not offer basic obedience training at Hand in Paw. Rather, our workshops train potential teams how to provide Animal- Assisted Therapy in nursing homes, schools, and healthcare settings. We are happy to work with you on basic obedience commands to prepare for the final evaluation for Hand in Paw registration.


If my pet is a Hand in Paw therapy animal, can he go everywhere with me, fly on airplanes, etc.?

No. A therapy animal can serve on assigned Hand in Paw Animal-Assisted therapy visits only. Otherwise your pet can go in any public places any other pets can. Hand in Paw credentials should not be used as the guise of a service animal for admittance on airplanes, hotels or anywhere else that service animals only are allowed.


Can my pet go to work with me once she is a Hand in Paw therapy animal?

This is up to you, however, she may not be misrepresented as a therapy animal while accompanying you to work. She is only a therapy animal when participating in a Hand in Paw assigned therapy visit.


Does Hand in Paw provide service animals?

No, Hand in Paw is a human service organization that provides training and evaluations for therapy animals and their handlers; we do not have any association with service animals. For a guide to different service animal organizations, please click here.


I have a wonderful pet that I would love to give or loan to your organization so that you can take him to places in the community. How does that work?

Our Therapy Teams are just that – teams. Pets and their handlers work together to improve the health and well-being of the community. If your pet is part of our organization, you would be, too!


What are the pre-requisites to being a Hand in Paw Therapy Team?

Your pet must be at least 18 months old. You must have owned your pet for at least six months. If volunteering with your dog, you and your dog must complete a basic group obedience class. Your pet must be spayed or neutered, and you must provide proof of COVID vaccination.


My dog is already well-behaved and knows obedience commands – I taught him. Is that good enough to serve as a formal basic obedience class, one of your pre-requisites for training?

Hand in Paw requires a certificate of completion of a basic group obedience class (for dogs) prior to beginning our training sessions. Working with your pet as a team, as well as obedience, is a major part of the evaluation process!


Where should I take my dog for basic obedience?

Anywhere you’d like! Hand in Paw does not endorse any particular trainers, we only ask that your dog be trained for general obedience: sit, down, stay, and come.  They must also walk politely on a loose leash, even in a crowded environment with other animals.


What other animals can be Therapy Animals?

Hand in Paw registers dogs and cats.


How old does someone have to be to volunteer?

Hand in Paw volunteers are required to be at least 18 years old.