“Peacocks on planes. Guide dogs in diners. Therapy horses at hospitals.

Animals that assist people in public have been making news lately – and making airlines, federal regulators, and lawmakers take notice. But behind all the hubbub about critters flying free in coach is ample confusion about what roles these animals serve, where they’re allowed, and what the laws say.”

Click here for an illuminating article on some common misconceptions about service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals. This graphically-engaging piece was written by Karin Brulliard for The Washington Post.

At Marin Humane, our volunteer Animal Ambassadors are therapy animals. There are 70 people, 74 dogs and 2 cats volunteering in our program. These amazing volunteers bring joy and comfort to many people in Marin. Our teams visit senior communities, schools, libraries, hospitals, hospice patients, special education classes, day programs, individuals and our volunteers are a big part of our humane education programs on and off campus. Marin Humane Animal Ambassadors also represent us at community events, such as senior fairs, film festivals, book signings, finals stress relief at high schools and universities and other outreach opportunities. In one day there can as many as 12 different visits occurring in the community.

Marin Humane volunteer teams attend a seven week class that prepares them to be a part of the program. Prior to the class they are pre-screened to be sure their dog has the foundation skills and temperament to do the work. The class consists of learning to read dog body language, safety skills for volunteer and dog, introduction to equipment (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.), interaction with a small group of children, guest speakers, homework that includes field trips and observation of current volunteers, and a graduation at a senior program in the community. A modified version of the Canine Good Citizen Test is also a part of the class.

For more information about our Animal-Assisted Programs, there are FAQs on our website, or you can contact the Community Engagement department.