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The Good Dog Foundation is a nonprofit organization that relies heavily on the kindness and generosity of their human and canine volunteers to provide animal-assisted therapy to those in need. The gift of healing and wellness is a precious one, and their teams are trained to help provide that gift. Their teams make radical differences in the lives of those they help and gain experiences that impact their own lives in rewarding and lasting ways.
The Good Dog Foundation was founded as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization in 1998. Good Dog’s mission is to ease human suffering and promote recovery from trauma and stress using animal-assisted therapy services that are recognized as among the most innovative and reliable in the United States. This is accomplished through the use of professionally-trained and supervised volunteer teams who work to aid the healing process in humans and enhance clients’ quality of life.
Good Dog provides therapy dog services to people in health care, social service, educational, and community facilities in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, and at disaster sites around the country. Its highly-trained and certified volunteer teams each consist of a human handler and therapy dog. Good Dog focuses on work in the four areas of Education, Health Care and Wellness, Research, and Disaster Response. Good Dog certifies teams rather than simply registering them. There is an important difference between certification and registration, despite the terms sometimes being used interchangeably. Certification implies that the organization has participated in the handler’s and the animal’s training. Where as registration requires a one-time screening, a registration organization does not certify that the team is trained to a certain level. Instead, the team is registered as having met minimum requirements. Good Dog is the only organization in New York City that offers true therapy team certifications. Good Dog’s ultimate goal is to increase the awareness and prevalence of fully-certified therapy teams in a wide variety of facilities across the country. This is achieved through three core activities: training and certification, visit coordination, and research and awareness.
At The Good Dog Foundation, they hold their human handlers and therapy dogs to the highest standards in the field in order to provide the best possible therapy services to people who need it most. Good Dog is unique in that it does not simply register therapy dogs after a one-time evaluation; teams must complete six weeks of training to become certified Good Dog teams.
Because of the substantial time that Good Dog spends training both handlers and dogs, Good Dog stands behind every volunteer team it certifies. This Good Dog Guarantee means that teams have complete Good Dog backing and support when visiting institutions; it also gives facilities full confidence that only qualified and certified Good Dog teams will visit their facilities. Because Good Dog believes in its teams, it provides insurance to all certified teams while they are on official facility visits. Dogs and their handlers must undergo an annual recertification to evaluate their fitness for therapy dog service. This allows Good Dog to ensure that only quality teams continue to visit facilities as Good Dogs.
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