A dog that is therapeutic to its disabled handler is a Service Dog not a therapy dog. Therapy Dog refers to a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, mental institutions, schools, and stressful situations such as disaster areas.

It is important to note that therapy dogs are not service dogs. Service dogs directly assist humans, and have a legal right to accompany their owners. Therapy dogs do not provide direct assistance, do not have legal rights to travel everywhere, and must be invited by institutions. Most institutions have rigorous requirements for therapy dogs.

A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with him and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an invalid's lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs add to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audiences or by playing carefully structured games.

Therapy dog tags do not contain ADA rules on the back as the ADA rules do not apply to therapy dogs. The back of the therapy dog tags contains the therapy dog prayer.

Therapy Dog Prayer

 ”Creator of all things, 

grant us humility that the works 

we behold with our eyes, 

through our Therapy Dogs, 

we may accept in our hearts, 

as a revelation of your love

 for all humanity”