Do you meet the requirements to become a Therapy Animal Team? 


Animal and Handler Team Requirements

Volunteering for animal assisted activities can be challenging but very rewarding work that requires a specific personality. Individuals that enjoy the company of others, enjoy helping others smile, are empathetic and want to volunteer in the community make a wonderful candidate for a registered Therapy Animal Team. The companion dog or cat must be well mannered, overly tolerant but most importantly, the animal must genuinely seek out and enjoy human companionship.

Requirements for Handlers

• Must be at least 18 years old with valid driver’s license

• Must show proof of responsible pet ownership by providing but not limited to proper veterinary care, grooming, humane handling of animal and training, including Handler Training

• Must be friendly, social, reliable, trustworthy and have good verbal and written communication skills

• Must be attentive to animal while being considerate to others

• Must have a professional appearance and remain knowledgeable of team expectations


Requirements for Canines and Felines

  • At least one year old, healthy and well-groomed

  • Vaccinated and free of infection, including fleas/parasites

  • Attentive and responsive to handler

  • Quiet and calm entering buildings

  • Wait on leash or in carrier patiently and quietly

  • Accept petting from a friendly stranger

  • Tolerate collar or harness, vest or bandanna, and leash

  • Accept stranger checking equipment

  • Tolerate restraining hug or restraining hold

  • Allow handling and grooming

  • Take treats gentle

  • Calm on short walk

  • Accept a different person petting or holding

  • No or very mild reaction to a neutral animal passing by

  • Walking around a crowd of people (3 or more)

  • Crowded and petted by several (3 or more) people at once

  • Carried, held and passed to at least 3 or more people (small dogs and cats only)

  • No or very mild reaction to visual distractions, which may include fast movements

  • No or very mild reaction to auditory distractions, which may include loud sounds

  • No or very mild reaction to being bumped or surprised, which may include clumsy petting

  • Allow interactions with children or children being nearby

  • Neutral with medical equipment, canes, walkers, elevators, slick surfaces

Requirements for Canines Only

  • Wait at doorways

  • Sit and down on command

  • Stay in place for 30 seconds or more with handler at other end of leash

  • Come when called while attached to a 20 ft leash

  • Leave-it in someone’s hand and leave-it as a dropped walk by

  • Loose leash walk near handler with tight turns and accurate speeds

  • Sit or settle for greeting and petting

  • No jumping, no excessive licking

  • Leash held by someone else with handler out of sight

Ready to become a team? Follow these steps!

Step 1: Handler Training ($30)

If you and your pet meet all of the team requirements, email us to sign up for Handler Training. This 1.5-hour workshop is for handlers only. It prepares potential teams for team evaluation, team registration, volunteer work in the community, and reviews team expectations and requirements of active team members. Handlers who complete Handler Training may start participating in weekly prep classes ($10 per class - drop in). 


Step 2: Team Evaluation ($30)

Within 3-6 months of completing Handler Training, potential teams must complete Team Evaluations. Teams are evaluated on all required skills without the use of training tools or treats. Teams with passing scores may complete Team Registration, the final step to becoming a registered Therapy Animal Team.


Evaluations are based on good manners, great social skills, teamwork, confident and considerate handling skills along with advanced level obedience skills for all canines. Cats are expected to be social, outgoing, tolerant with leash and harness handling, and comfortable with being held and cuddled, along with being transported in a soft or hard carrier. 

Step 3: Team Registration ($100)

Team Registration includes paperwork and a background check. After team registration, teams become registered with Monroe County Humane Association’s Therapy Animal Program, remain active for two years, and may start providing visits in the community.

Learn more about the types of Assistance Animals here

Learn more about becoming a Therapy Team here. 

Take a quiz to see if you and your animal would be a good fit!

Animal Care Campus: 791 S Fieldstone Blvd, Bloomington, IN 47403

For appointments, please call: 812-333-6242, ext 2

To fax veterinary records: 812-825-2247

*Administration Address: 3410 S Walnut St, Bloomington, IN 47401

*Staff hours may vary. Please call to confirm. Dropping off a donation? We have a donation bin outside of our door that's available any time!

Mailing Address: PO Box 1334, Bloomington, IN 47402​​

**We do not have a shelter.**

    For City of Bloomington shelter hours, adoptable animals, lost/found pets, and animal control, call City of Bloomington Animal Care & Control at 812.349.3492.

© 2016 Monroe County Humane Association