Our certified therapy pets are NOT service animals nor are they emotional support animals. Under the Americans for Disabilities Act (ADA), “comfort,” “therapy,” or “emotional support animals” do not meet the definition of a service animal. Here are the differences:
- Service animals are animals that are specially trained to help a person with disabilities and are to be focused solely on that one person.
- An emotional support animal, which may be any type of pet, is an animal that provides relief to individuals with “psychiatric disability through companionship.” They are not recognized as service animals under the ADA.
Therapy pets are animals that volunteer under the supervision of a certified pet therapy organization with their approved handler to improve the lives of others. Therapy pets do not have the same public access as service or emotional support animals. Handlers of therapy pets must not ever present their animal as a service or emotional support animal, nor try to gain public access to planes, restaurants, public buildings, etc. and could risk losing their therapy pet status if they misrepresent themselves.
We do not train service animals or emotional support animals or pets for use by any individual. Therapy pets do not get special privileges.
We do not visit facilities where other pet therapy organizations visit for credibility, liability, and safety reasons. A few facilities are grandfathered in, but no such visits are currently being approved without rare permission given by the Executive Director.
We do not accept current service or emotional support animals.
Our program does not certify pets to be used as part of any business or agency. Our pets are not certified to be used in any kind of private practice, volunteering, care-giving, etc. Our certification does not entitle our pets to “go to work” with their owners for any reason, nor ever make home or apartment visits. We visit only our pre-arranged facilities on set schedules, usually once a month.
If there is a scheduled visit to the place of employment of a member, the member may only join that visit with the approval of both the Executive Director and the member’s supervisor. Take your pet home after the visit, or better yet, visit on your day off if possible. If the pet stays on the premises after the visit, a waiver release must be signed by the Executive Director and the designated authority at the facility. The pet may never make any visits on behalf of Faithful Paws outside of the scheduled visit.
We do not participate in any kind of service hours.
We do not participate in fairs, fundraising events, or outdoor activities, unless special approval is given by our Executive Director.
We do not accept members who do not have transportation, internet access, or email.
We do not accept donated pets or find homes for pets. Visit Petfinder or a local dog rescue to re-home your pet.
We do not ever visit in individual homes or apartments.
Therapy pets are only considered therapy pets as long as they are active members of their certifying organization. Once they quit, retire, or are no longer active, they are no longer considered a therapy pet at all. Active status for Faithful Paws members and pets can be checked at any time with our admins through this website. The therapy pet and handler must maintain current active status with their therapy animal registration/certification organization as long as they are volunteering to be considered a therapy animal.