top of page


Thank you for your interest in becoming a Caring Canines volunteer.  Below are the basic qualifications needed for both dogs and handlers.  

All applicant dogs must be:

  • at least two years old and no older than 10 years old

  • healthy, parasite-free and up-to-date on all shots (see FAQ)

  • spayed or neutered

  • able to perform basic obedience skills (sit*, down, stay & come, leave it)


To be accepted into the Caring Canines program, your dog must:

  • welcome, not just tolerate, interactions with new people

  • be comfortable in new environments and around medical equipment (walkers, crutches etc.) and noises

  • be calm and well-behaved when meeting strangers of all ages, races and genders. This includes everyone from young children to older adults in wheelchairs.

  • enjoy being petted and hugged without getting over-excited

  • have a calm, sustained interest in visiting with people

  • consistently follow cues and obedience commands from you even when there are distractions

  • move nicely on a leash or harness through groups of people and past other dogs

Dogs will not pass a Caring Canines evaluation if any of the following are true:

  • barks when meeting / seeing other dogs or people

  • jumps up on people

  • has ever demonstrated fear or aggression towards another dog or person

  • requires a choke, prong or slip collar to stay under your control** 

  • cannot settle down quietly next to someone for petting

  • is easily distracted by other dogs or people

*Greyhounds are not required to sit.  

**Martingale collars are acceptable for sight hounds

Therapy dog
Therapy Dog

All volunteers must:

  • be at least 18 years old

  • have private transportation

  • be able to commit to a minimum of eight visits per calendar year (we do not visit in July & August)

To be a Caring Canines handler, you must:

  • be able to read your dog’s body language to know when they are stressed out or anxious

  • stay aware of the comfort and safety of your dog even when there are distractions such as conversation

  • stay relaxed so that you and your dog can both enjoy the visit

  • be friendly and comfortable talking with strangers

If you feel that you and your dog fulfill the requirements above, we welcome you to start the Application Process.

bottom of page