As people who care about animals, we all have stories to tell of how an animal has touched our life, sometimes in the smallest of ways and sometimes more profoundly. ARL TheraPets strive to bring happiness and comfort to all who interact with them.

ARL TheraPets certifies a pet and their handler, as a team, to visit nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, hospice facilities, and other such residences to make a difference in the lives of those being cared for. Once a team is certified, the ARL works to place the team with a participating local facility where they are needed and will be welcomed.

Becoming a TheraPets team is a fun and rewarding experience and we invite all who are interested to attend TheraPets Orientation. Click here to sign up for an upcoming session! During the orientation, you’ll learn more about the program to help you decide if you and your pet are ready for an assessment by the ARL or if you have some further training to do.


  • Human volunteers must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Dogs, cats, and birds must be one year of age or older. Rabbits and guinea pigs must be 6 months of age or older.
  • A passing score on the TheraPets assessment.

If you’re interested in becoming a participating facility bringing ARL TheraPets into your workplace, please email


Additional Information about TheraPets


About the Assessment

Using the expertise of our pet behavior staff, the ARL has developed TheraPets assessment criteria that meets or exceeds nationally accepted standards. The safety and comfort of the community we serve and our TheraPets teams is of greatest importance to us. We must ensure the pets in our program make for great visitors to the facilities we partner with and ambassadors of the ARL. Because of the nature of their work, TheraPets must be comfortable around wheelchairs, people of all ages, sounds of medical equipment, and other unique factors of the environments they’ll be working in. We work closely with our certified teams and participating facilities to ensure a mutually beneficial match. In order to be a part of the TheraPets program, all animals and their handlers must pass the TheraPets assessment.

Not Just for Dogs!

While dogs may be thought of as the most common type of visiting pet, the ARL’s TheraPets program also assesses cats, birds, rabbits, and other small animals! All types of pets have comforting abilities and can make a difference in someone’s life!

Preparing Your Pet to Become a TheraPets Volunteer

Socialization and training are key. Becoming a certified TheraPets team can be a challenging path, but it is equally rewarding! The more your pet is exposed to different people, situations, and environments, the better prepared it will be for the work it will do as part of TheraPets.

If your dog has not taken a training class, the ARL’s Good Manners class is recommended as a first step. Once your dog has a solid understanding of basic skills and manners, the 10 Steps to CGC (Canine Good Citizen) class will help prepare your dog further for the TheraPets assessment.


The TheraPets program is sponsored in part by the Blumenthal family. To help the ARL expand therapeutic pet visits to even more people in the community, click here and reference "TheraPets".