WHAT MAKES A THERAPY PAIR?
A therapy pair comprises a handler and a dog with obtained licence to practice activities of The PET Institute.
Is a well socialised, behaved and trained dog with a high tolerance threshold to humans and other animals. It has a valid veterinary certificate and is regularly groomed. The dog and its handler have successfully passed a personality and skills test, practical training and together with its handler successfully passed the final exam and has reached 2 years of age.
Handler of the therapy dog
The handler of the therapy dog is physically healthy and personally mature and educated in the field of animal assisted intervention. It must have additional knowledge in the field of veterinary and canine studies as well as specific knowledge about conditions and diseases of the users with whom they interact. Their knowledge must be regularly updated and upgraded.
They must respect people and animals and have a knack for working with them. They must have well developed communication skills and show a great deal of independence, resourcefulness and responsibility at work. They need to be aware of the dog language, know the personality traits and reactions of their dog, they need to be able to prevent the stress in their dog and be able to quickly and accurately respond to unpredictable situations. They must therefore serve as an example to the community as a good guardian of the dog and a philanthropist.
Work with therapy dogs is not limited to people with special needs only; it is used much more widely. Therapy dogs are usually pets of the handlers, who carry out dog assisted interventions in various institutions.
Therapy dogs are not assistance dogs. It should be noted that not every dog can become a therapy dog, as the criteria for testing the suitability of therapy dogs is very high.
CURRENT LEGISLATIVE ISSUES
Therapy dogs, as opposed to guide dogs and assistance dogs are not recognized or registered in the laws and regulations of the Republic of Slovenia. Also the scope of dog assisted intervention is not defined in the laws and regulations. The situation in other countries around the world is similar, although there are an increasing number of countries with legal basis for animal assisted interventions and who legally define the therapy dogs.