TheraPets Visits

It has been observed that visits from therapy animals can assist in lowering blood pressure, treating depression and anxiety, improving physical and mental stimulation, and enhancing quality of life.

ARL TheraPets carefully and thoroughly evaluates every animal with their owner; our evaluation process meets national standards. All potential volunteers must pass this rigorous evaluation with their pet in order to become certified as an ARL TheraPets team.

TheraPets teams are welcome in over 50 partner facilities in 7 counties throughout central Iowa!

What to Expect from ARL TheraPets

  • Human volunteers have completed comprehensive training
    • please note, we do not perform comprehensive background checks
  • Visits happen on-site at your facility and last approximately one hour (length of visit varies per animal)
  • Administrative support to address questions, comments, or concerns
  • Insurance to supplement homeowners’ policy

What ARL TheraPets Expects from our Partners

  • One contact person to communicate with our TheraPets teams
  • Orientation appropriate for the facility and/or event
  • A clear understanding of the rules/requirements for volunteers
  • A safe visiting environment for our TheraPets teams

How to Identify Certified TheraPets Teams

  • Handler will wear TheraPets photo ID badge
  • Animal will wear TheraPets bandana/tag (as appropriate for the species)

Interested in Bringing ARL TheraPets to Visit your Facility?

Fill out this form to get started!

*Due to the current high demand, there will likely be a wait before we are able to fulfill new facility visit requests.

If you have additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact

“The residents at 3801 Grand are thrilled with the visits from the ARL’s TheraPets. We have had a variety of different breeds of dogs visit and beautiful cats. Some of the dogs perform tricks for us and others just enjoy being petted as much as we enjoy petting and interacting with them. The cats have been so much fun to have sit on our laps and purr. All of the animals have been very well behaved and obviously trained as therapy animals. You just can’t put into words the enjoyment everyone in the community has experienced with our TheraPets visits. Thank you so much Cat for bringing the ARL’s TheraPets program to 3801 Grand!”
-Terri Tripp, Activity Director 3801 Grand

ARL TheraPets are not service animals. Rather, they are ARL volunteers’ personal pets that are invited into both public and private places to provide comfort, relaxation and enjoyment to others. To learn more about the difference between pet therapy animals and service animals, including emotional support animals, click here.