What is a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog?

Not all of our wonderful pups become Guide Dogs. Some have skills that are better suited to a slightly different career path. It’s these playful, gentle pups who make the perfect Pets as Therapy dogs for people in need of a loyal best friend to support them.

The primary role of a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog is to provide companionship and emotional support to an individual, family or a group of people. PAT dogs can provide support for people with mental, emotional and behavioural conditions, illnesses and physical disabilities.

This support could be as simple and invaluable as staying by someone’s side while they navigate their anxiety or helping to bring families closer by encouraging routine, commitment and empathy.

Some things to know about the PAT Program

While Pets as Therapy dogs do not have access rights, PAT dogs can also help people to feel a part of their community again. You can hear mum Katie’s story about how therapy dog ‘Esme’ helped her family to overcome isolation here.

Pets as Therapy dogs are not assistance dogs so are not trained to provide specific support to assist with alleviating or mitigating health concerns. This means that they do not have access rights similar to that of Guide, Hearing or Assistance dogs. However, their unique skills mean they are capable of providing support and comfort to people with a variety conditions and disabilities.

It costs over $50,000 to raise and train a Guide Dog and a Pets as Therapy dog goes through the majority of this training process. To help offset this cost and to ensure that we can continuing offering this vital program we ask that those who apply for a Pets as Therapy dog are willing to fundraise $10,000. Our fundraising team will happily provide assistance and fundraising resources to help you with this process once you have been matched with you Pets as Therapy dog.

How do I know if a PAT dog would be suitable for me?

The process of matching a Pets as Therapy dog with an individual, family or facility is carefully considered to ensure that the match is perfect for both the people and the dog.

If you’re interested in applying for a Pets as Therapy dog for an individual or family please fill out this form.

If you’re interested in applying for a Pets as Therapy dog for a facility please fill out this form.

What could I gain from having a Pets as Therapy Dog?

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Companionship and emotional support

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Support for mental, emotional and behavioural conditions

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A loyal, life-changing friendship

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Increased confidence in participating in the community

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More social opportunities and the chance to break down social barriers

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Development of routine and commitment

Katie’s Story

Learn more about your funding support

It costs over $50,000 to raise and train a Guide Dog and a Pets as Therapy dog goes through the majority of this training process. To help offset this cost and to ensure that we can continuing offering this vital program we ask that those who apply for a Pets as Therapy dog are willing to fundraise $10,000. If you are successfully matched with a Pets as Therapy dog, our fundraising team will happily provide assistance and fundraising resources to help you with this process.

Image of a woman cuddling her black Guide Dog

Learn more about your funding support

It costs over $50,000 to raise and train a Guide Dog and a Pets as Therapy dog goes through the majority of this training process. To help offset this cost and to ensure that we can continuing offering this vital program we ask that those who apply for a Pets as Therapy dog are willing to fundraise $10,000. If you are successfully matched with a Pets as Therapy dog, our fundraising team will happily provide assistance and fundraising resources to help you with this process.

Support Pets as Therapy

The Pets as Therapy program has already changed the lives of many families and with your generous gift we can match more people with a loyal companion.

Donate now