Does Tender Paws/Pet Partners train animals to become Therapy Animals?
How do I know if my dog/pet would make a good therapy animal? Should I consult a trainer?

To be part of a therapy team, your dog/pet does not need any formal, obedience training. Your dog/pet DOES need to be able to follow basic commands, genuinely enjoy interacting with people, and have a calm, confident disposition. For more information, click below.

How much does it cost to become a therapy team?

The Tender Paws in-person Handler course fee: $30.


The online course through Pet Partners fee: $80.

Tender Paws evaluation Fee: $20.

Also provides first-year membership.

Tender Paws annual membership fee: $20.

Pet Partners National registration fee: $95 for 2 years.

Renewal fee: $70 for 2 years.

Discounts are available for Seniors, Minors, Military/Family, and people with a disability.

Tender Paws Financial Aid is available. Click below to request details.

Tender Paws relies on charitable donations and sponsorships to continue to make the program possible.

Can I take my therapy dog/animal to work?

If you work in an office and just want your animal as a companion, the short answer is no. However, Pet Partners recently created an affiliated organization called the Association of Animal-Assisted Intervention Professionals or AAAIP. It was developed to address the needs of professional healthcare providers, educators, and others to gain the knowledge needed to safely and ethically practice animal-assisted interventions while advancing the field. For more information, click below.

Can my therapy dog/animal and I help out in emergency situations?

Yes. You can become an Animal-Assisted Crisis Response (AACR) team. Pet Partners AACR teams are trained and credentialed to provide emotional comfort and support to people affected by the impacts of crisis events in their communities. For information, click below.

Are there breed restrictions?

No. However, some sites/facilities may impose restrictions. Tender Paws reserves the right to deny requests from a site/facility that chooses to restrict breeds.

All animals except “pocket pets” must be at least one year old. Rabbits, guinea pigs, and rats must be at least six months old. There is no upper age limit, but your animal must be able to comfortably and safely meet the typical requirements of a therapy visit. All teams are evaluated every two years to ensure both animal and handler are capable of conducting a safe visit and the animal enjoys the interaction.

Can I volunteer with more than one animal?

Yes. However, you must pass an evaluation with each animal and you can only visit with one animal at a time.

Can one animal have more than one handler?

Yes. However, each handler must pass the class and evaluation.

Yes. The minimum age is 10. However, all those under 16 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. The parent/guardian must be present at the evaluation and must accompany the minor at all visits or events. Additionally, those under 18 must have parent/guardian permission to participate.

Can my child volunteer with our animal?
What is the difference between Therapy Animals, Service/
Assistance Animals
and Emotional Support Animals?

Assistance Animal (AKA Service Animal): An animal individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities.

Emotional Support Animal: A pet that provides
therapeutic support to a person with a mental illness.

Therapy Animal: A pet that can provide physical, psychological, and emotional benefits to those with which they interact. For more information, click the button below.

Why does Tender Paws affiliate with Pet Partners and what is the difference between Pet Partners and other therapy animal

Since Pet Partners Teams set up visitation programs at facilities of their choice nationwide, PP has set consistent high standards for all their teams. Handlers must pass a training class, teams must pass an evaluation to become nationally registered and then pass an evaluation every 2 years to maintain their active status.

For more information about these standards click below.

For more information about the requirements and priorities of the Pet Partners Therapy Animal program, click below.

Additional Resources

Click on the buttons below for more information (provided by the American Kennel Club).

Is there a difference between Registration and Certification?

Therapy animal teams are registered but not certified. Certification implies that an independent third party has assessed an individual’s mastery of knowledge and skills.

Can I be a registered team with more than one organization?

No. In order to be fully covered by Pet Partners’ GCLI (Liability Insurance) policy, volunteers must represent Pet Partners and may not affiliate with another organization that offers the same programs. If you are interested in joining another organization that offers services different from what Pet Partners offers, it is best to contact Pet Partners directly.

Can I feed my therapy animal a raw diet?
Why do I need permission from my vet to participate in the Pet Partner Program?

No. Pet Partners trains handlers. Your animal needs appropriate obedience skills and the two of you need to demonstrate that you can work together and use these skills to be safe and reliable during therapy animal visits. For more information click below.

What kind of equipment can I use for a Pet Partner Therapy Animal?

Please go to Pet Partners for a complete response to this question. Click below.

What is the READ to ME™ Program?

This is a monthly event at the Clarksville Montgomery County Public Library wherein children read to Tender Paws. Therapy Animals. For more information, click below.

Reminder: We are not a Service Dog organization and do not train Service or Emotional Support Dogs.
Pet Partners Graphic "What makes a therapy Animal different?"
Pet Partners Graphic "What makes a therapy Animal different?"

No. There is concern from medical professionals that humans, especially those with compromised immune systems, may be at a higher risk of infection by interacting with animals who eat raw meat diet and treats.

Therapy animals may both be exposed to infectious agents because they visit people in healthcare facilities and be a potential source of infectious agents for people they visit. Your animal’s veterinarian is the best person to judge the health of your animal.

Tender Paws FAQ

Are there age restrictions for animals?
What are the benefits of Joining Tender Paws and registering with Pet Partners?
  • $2,000,000 worth of comprehensive liability insurance provides access to facilities and peace of mind while volunteering.

  • Be part of a nationally recognized organization whose standards encompass the welfare of the animal, testing to ensure safe visiting, reliability of the team, the importance of infection control, and all other facets of Therapy Animal activities

  • Connect with other local volunteer Therapy Animal Teams and build comradery.

  • Volunteer Opportunities: Tender Paws receives visit requests from area facilities and coordinates with member teams.

  • Access to Pet Partners’ free and discounted online courses and exclusive webinars.

  • Access to Pet Partners’ free and discounted online courses and exclusive webinars.

This Border Collie is a Tender Paws Therapy Dog.
This Border Collie is a Tender Paws Therapy Dog.
Pet Partners animal ID tag
Pet Partners animal ID tag
Tender Paws baseball cap.
Tender Paws baseball cap.