An Overview of Therapy Dogs International

Therapy Dogs International (TDI) is a non-government organization or volunteer group with the main purposes of training, regulating, testing, and registering therapy dogs. Eventually, after a series of registration processes, qualified therapy dogs are allowed to visit hospitals, nursing homes, schools, or any approved institution where therapy dogs are needed.

TDI's homepageTDI was founded in New Jersey in 1976; by 2011, approximately 24,000 dog/handler teams are registered with the organization. Now, TDI-registered therapy dogs are spread all across the country in 50 states and Canada. It is a non-profit organization and it does not receive any financial support of any type from the government; TDI depends only on annual membership dues and donations.

The Importance of Therapy Dogs

Some studies suggest that the visits of therapy dogs to health institution play major roles in helping or improving patients’ overall health conditions. Therapy dogs provide comfort and affections to patients; in other words, the dogs help to create friendly atmosphere around the patients. Dogs’ visits are proven to be helpful in decreasing patients’ heart rates, lowering blood pressures, and promoting relief of stress/depression.

With TDI, the visits are free; any health institution will only need to send a visit request and there is no fee or any payment required. Furthermore, TDI will provide the service using individual facility; the health institution being visited does not need to provide any other services for the visiting dogs and handlers. As mentioned earlier, the organization receives financial supports from the annual membership dues and donation.

The Volunteers

The volunteers (dogs and handlers) are covered with Primary Liability Insurance by TDI. Secondary Volunteer Accident Insurance is as well providing coverage for volunteers while traveling to the destined health institution. As recommended by AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association), every dog’s health record is constantly checked and updated. It ensures that all registered dogs of TDI are completely healthy and they do not carry any contagious disease.

Registration Requirements

Any dog of any breed is allowed to join as a volunteer in the organization. However, there are still some specific requirements concerning health condition, obedience training, and more. Basically, before registering, all dogs have to undergo several health examination and vaccinations by veterinarian. Another important thing is obedience training; only the dogs with AKC-CGC (American Kennel Club-Canine Good Citizen) Certificate are allowed to volunteer in TDI. CGC is a series mental, behavior, and obedience tests conducted by American Kennel Club.

Official Website of TDI

The official website of Therapy Dogs International ( contains a good range of information about the organization including the history, registration requirements, test requirements, and more; it also provides link to visit AKC’s CGC test page. All information in TDI’s website is comprehensively provided; it conveys any necessary information about the organization in details. The e-mail address, fax, and phone numbers are also informed in the website.


Overall, TDI is an excellent therapy dogs organization in the US and world. With more than 30 years of experiences in the field, TDI has become on the most favorable organizations for many health institutions in the country. The website is as well concise and the pages deliver information that clearly explains any important points concerning the registration process and visiting activities.