If you have a pet who you think would be suitable for visiting nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities, your first step is to get it registered by one of the national organizations, such as the Delta Society's Pet Partners Program, which offers volunteers inurance coverage. Contact Delta for information about their Pet Partners Team Training Course Manual and other materials. Other registration and insurance coverage is available from Therapy Dogs International, Therapy Dogs, Inc., the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizenship Test, and other local organizations.
If you are doing research about the human-animal bond and its many therapeutic applications, you'll want an expanded version of the basic information on this Web site. Order a copy of Animal-Assisted Therapy and Activities: A Study and Research Resource Guide for the Use of Companion Animals in Animal-Assisted Interventions, 10th ed., by Phil Arkow.
If you're looking for classes to take about Animal-Assisted Therapy, there are a few campus and distance-learning opportunities available, including the Survey Course in AAT/AAA at Camden County College in New Jersey, and a DISTANCE LEARNING course offered through Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, PA. Each offers a professional Certificate of Completion.
REALITY CHECK: As a general rule, taking a course and/or getting you and your pets registered will not lead to employment opportunities. They will, however, expand your horizons, introduce you to an incredible network of pets and people with similar beliefs, and open the doors to exciting volunteer and research opportunities. They will help you incorporate AAA/AAT into your existing work in such fields as nursing, social work, counseling or education. Be creative or entrepreneurial!