What is a Therapy Animal

Offering people an opportunity to interact with an animal can truly make a difference in their physical and mental health. 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 animals with their owner; our evaluation process meets or exceeds national standards for pet therapy. 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 70 partner facilities in 10 counties throughout central Iowa!

What to Expect from ARL TheraPets

  • Human volunteers have completed comprehensive training for pet therapy (please note: we do not perform background checks)
  • Visits happen on-site at your facility and last approximately one hour
  • Administrative support to address questions, comments, or concerns
  • Insurance to supplement homeowners’ insurance (if you require a copy of the policy, please contact therapets@arl-iowa.org)

What ARL TheraPets Expects from you

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

How to Identify Certified TheraPets Teams

  • The handler will wear a TheraPets polo/ID badge
  • The animal will wear a TheraPets bandana/tag (as appropriate for the species)

Interested in Bringing ARL TheraPets to Visit your Facility?

Fill out this form to get started!

If you have additional questions, comments, or concerns, please contact therapets@arl-iowa.org

“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.