The mission of the Monroe County Humane Association Therapy Animal Program is to positively impact members of our community and improve mental, physical, emotional, and cognitive health through animal-assisted activities.
Volunteering for animal assisted activities can be challenging but very rewarding work.
Dog or cat teams go through advanced-level obedience training, therapy animal training, and an evaluation. Animals are owned by their handlers and are personal pets while not volunteering.
What do Therapy Animal Teams do?
Registered teams can be found throughout the community visiting nursing homes, health care facilities, senior living residences, libraries, schools, camps, and events. Our program is also a proud partner with the IU Hospital Pet Therapy Program.
How do I schedule a visit from a Therapy Animal Team?
Meet our Therapy Animal Teams
Emily & Zuri
Emily & Zuri, a Golden Retriever, joined the Therapy Animal Program in September 2019. Zuri’s favorite activities include playing with “his boys”, greeting children as they arrive for school, and training for therapy work, rally obedience and agility.
chika & rikki
Chika & Rikki joined the Therapy Animal Program in 2018. His favorite activity is swimming; he goes boating and kayaking during the summer and competes in dock diving! He also loves to play with toys, go on hikes, and learn new tricks.
eiko & yuki
Eiko & Yuki, a West Highland Terrier, joined the Therapy Animal Program in October 2019. Yuki enjoys hiking, playing with her dog friends, snuggling, and taking naps in sunny spots. Yuki loves to share her adorable personality with everyone.
Grace & yorick
Grace & Yorick officially joined the Therapy Animal Program in October 2019. Yorick, a rescue kitty, is an adventuresome beast who loves head scratches, walks, and making new friends.
emily & amina
Emily & Amina, a Carolina Dog, joined the Therapy Animal Program in October 2019. Amina loves spending time with young children. Emily is a family therapist, so Amina provides therapeutic support to families and staff at Emily’s workplace.
aran & Hoosier
Aran & Hoosier, a Maltese Bichon mix, joined the Therapy Animal Program in 2011. Hoosier practiced therapy dog work in New York City and Cincinnati, and he now helps students relax by attending IU events and visiting sororities.
Siobhan & grace
Siobhan & Grace, a Pug, joined the Therapy Animal Program in March 2020. Siobhan has a local photography business and takes Grace along, where she helps people who don’t like to be photographed with her funny face and gentle heart.
patricia & daisy
Patricia & Daisy, a Poodle, joined the Therapy Animal Program in September 2019. Daisy loves people, especially children! She thoroughly enjoys going to schools. Daisy even practices her Spanish in the bilingual/immersion classes.
connie & kansas
Connie & Kansas, an Australian Shepherd, love interacting with those in the community. Connie is retired and understands the joy a dog can bring to people who cannot be with animals.
lauren & parker
Lauren & Parker, an Australian Shepherd/Great Pyrenees mix, joined the Therapy Animal Program in 2018. Parker frequently visits Hopscotch Coffee & Switchyard Brewing Company. Parker is a gentle giant who thinks he’s a lap dog!
dede & penelope
Dede & Penelope, a Golden Retriever, joined the Therapy Animal Program in October 2018. Penelope brings canned goods to the pantry, carries shoes to her humans when she wants to go outside, and fetches tools to assist with repairs.
norvin & bilbo
Norvin & Bilbo, a Great Pyrenees, joined the Therapy Animal Program in October 2016 and have been spreading love since!
chris & ziva
Chris & Ziva are best friends! Chris has owned 6 white German Shepherds throughout his life. Ziva earned her AKC Canine Good Citizen diploma at one and a half years old. Since then, the duo has continued to train together.
kayla & ollie
Kayla & Ollie joined the Therapy Animal Program in June of 2021. Ollie loves hiking, swimming, and going on adventures. He is a playful pup that will try to make friends with any new dog or human he meets!
sungah & remus
Sungah & Remus joined the MCHA Therapy Animal Program in 2021. Remus is a friend to any living being and enjoys hikes, butt scratches and trips to the dog park!
carmela & mister
Carmela & Mister, a miniature poodle, joined the MCHA Therapy Animal Program in 2021. Mister loves to play fetch, go on hikes, swim and cuddle. His favorite is just being out and about with Carmela to make new friends and cheer people up!
larissa, dylan & benson
Larissa, Dylan & Benson joined the Therapy Animal Program in 2021. Benson is a giant cuddler who can’t wait to spread joy around Bloomington. He loves swimming, napping, and playing frisbee.
Desirae & Willow
Desirae & Willow joined the Therapy Animal Program in 2021. Willow is a gentle soul who loves people! In their off time, Willow and Desirae do agility and travel to dog shows with her sisters Luna & Cherri!
Susie & Mason
Susie and Mason, a miniature Bernadoodle, joined the Therapy Animal Program in August 2021. Mason loves playing with other dogs and being petted by his human friends! Together, they look forward to bringing smiles and joy to the groups they visit
Who can participate in the Therapy Animal Program?
Handlers must be 18+ years old, possess a valid driver’s license, demonstrate proof of responsible pet ownership through providing proper veterinary care and grooming, have a professional appearance, and remain knowledgable of team expectations.
Dogs and cats must be 1+ years old, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and free of infection.
Dogs and cats must meet a variety of behavior requirements.
Find more information on program requirements here.
Three FREE prep classes per year to polish handler & animal’s skills
- One FREE veterinary exam per year
Insurance coverage while on volunteer visits
Private Facebook group (info, events, tips & demos)
Name tag for you & therapy vest for your animal
Camaraderie amongst like-minded teams
Self-fulfillment of touching other community members’ lives
How can I become a Therapy Animal Team?
Follow these steps!
Step #1: Determine if your pet meets the behavior requirements
Step #2: Take this questionnaire to see if your pet is a good fit
Step #3: Complete Handler Training
OPTIONAL: Register for Prep Classes
Step #4: Complete Team Evaluation
Step #5: Complete Team Registration