Animal Friends Therapets
At Animal Friends, we strongly believe in the healing power of animals. Since the 1980s, Animal Friends staff and volunteers have actively engaged the Pittsburgh community through pet therapy to enhance the animal-human bond.
What is Pet Therapy?
Not to be confused with a service dog or an emotional support animal, a therapy animal is any companion pet that has undergone training and certification to provide comfort and affection to someone other than its owner. However, the animal is only half of the equation – a responsible, caring handler is the other member of a therapy team. At Animal Friends, we certify dog, cat, and rabbit therapy teams. Through guided interactions with a certified therapy pet and its handler, tens of thousands of people benefit from this incredible therapeutic service in our region every year.
On the road …
Our experienced and trained volunteer teams are active throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania visiting with those who need a little animal companionship to bring a smile to their face! You might see us on one of the many local college campuses for a stress relief clinic during exam time. Visiting a loved one in the hospital? You might see one of our therapy dogs wagging her tail through the hallway to visit with sick patients! What about a residential treatment facility for children with intellectual disabilities? We’re there too, ready with doggie kisses and a friendly smile. We also can’t forget about how much senior community residents enjoy petting the soft fur of a therapy rabbit!
In house …
In addition to our work in the community we also host a number of events on-site at the beautiful Animal Friends Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center. We regularly welcome visitors from local senior communities, mental health facilities and life skills classrooms to attend our special “Animal Afternoons." Additionally, a number of special events are hosted on-site such as our annual "Sing-a-Long with the Animals" which offers pet therapy and music therapy to veterans and older adults around Memorial Day.
Pet Therapy can mean a lot of different things and Animal Friends is committed to touching as many lives as possible with this incredible therapeutic service!
Animal Friends has its very own pet therapy certification program called Therapets. We train and certify volunteer pet therapy teams that visit facilities all over Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania. Each of our therapy dogs, cats, and rabbits are evaluated to ensure that they are a good match for our program. We look for pets that are friendly, gentle, and enjoy human contact.
To become a Therapet, your pet must be:
Other than these requirements, there are no breed, size, age or disability restrictions!
Think your pet would make a great Therapet? Click here for more information about becoming a Therapets Volunteer!
Please contact Rachel Martone, Therapeutic Services Assistant at 412.847.7081 or RMartone@ThinkingOutsideTheCage.org with any questions.
Are you currently a volunteer who would like to submit your visitation forms online? Click here!