Volunteering for animal assisted activities can be challenging but very rewarding work. Do you meet the requirements to become a Therapy Animal Team? 

Requirements for Handlers

• Must be 18+ years old with a valid driver’s license

• Must show proof of responsible pet ownership by providing proper veterinary care, grooming, humane handling of animal

• 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 Dogs and Cats

  • 1+ years 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 stranger

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

  • Tolerate restraining hug or restraining hold

  • Allow handling and grooming

  • Take treats gently

  • Little to no 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)

  • Little to no reaction to visual distractions, which may include fast movements

  • Little to no reaction to auditory distractions, which may include loud sounds

  • Little to no 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 Dogs 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 evaluation, registration, and reviews expectations and requirements of active teams. 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 an evaluation. 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 registration, teams become registered with Monroe County Humane Association’s Therapy Animal Program, remain active for two years, and may provide 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