Therapy Dog Team


The WHS Therapy Dog Program uses assessed behaviour-trained animals to provide affection and comfort to people with a variety of needs and conditions who would benefit from the support and attention of a therapy animal. 

The program is delivered to schools, senior homes, correctional institutions, rehabilitation facilities, hospitals, workplaces, and so much more. This program can be tailored to participants of any age, especially our vulnerable population.

Scope of the Activity

Have your dog assessed to become a WHS Therapy Dog. This Program focuses on providing individuals with physical, mental, and behavioural needs to make closer connections with therapy animals based on the reported benefits of these types of practices.

Handler Skills & Qualifications

  • Punctual/reliable.
  • Sense of humour.
  • Easily adaptable.
  • Good communicator.
  • Compassionate.
  • Patient.
  • Caring and understanding.
  • Can communicate effectively with children and individuals from all walks of life.
  • Someone who is highly aware of their surroundings and can read their dog.
  • Very outgoing and friendly individuals with a high level of skills working with children, adults, and vulnerable populations.
  • Polite and professional individuals who are neat and tidy.
  • Desire to become educated on the society's mission, programs, and services.
  • Obtain police and child abuse registry checks.
  • Must be willing to commit to a minimum of 2 shifts per month.

Dog Skills & Qualifications

Dogs must be a minimum of 12 months of age and fully vaccinated (Parvo/Distemper, Rabies and Bordetella). They should be spayed or neutered as well unless the handler is a licensed, registered CKC breeder, or the dog is a purebred show dog.

Dogs must meet these criteria and will be assessed by the WHS Behaviour Team. 

  • Grooming (nails short/smooth, no excessive shedding).
  • Basic Commands (sit, stay, down).
  • Controlled walk with pylons (loose leash).
  • Handler able to refocus.
  • Knows tricks to refocus the dog.
  • Takes food gently.
  • Leave an item.
  • Recall.
  • Accepting a stranger (hat and sunglasses).
  • Sitting politely for greeting.
  • Pet all over head to toe.

Reaction assessment

  • Clumsy petting
  • Approached from behind.
  • Walk through a stationary and moving crowd.
  • Crowded petting.
  • Reaction to other dogs.
  • Able to be held while pet (small dogs).
  • Held by a stranger with handler out of sight.
  • Staggering and gesturing individual.
  • Loud/yelling voice.
  • Mobility aids (wheelchair, crutches, cane, child toys).

Benefits to Joining the WHS Therapy Dog Program

  • FREE Therapy Dog Behaviour Assessment.
  • FREE Therapy Dog Orientation and training for accepted teams.
  • Certificate of completion, stating that they are a  WHS Certified Therapy Dog (renewal evaluation yearly).
  • WHS branded Therapy Dog Tee.
  • WHS branded Therapy Dog Leash.
  • WHS branded Therapy Dog Bandana.
  • WHS branded Therapy Dog Lanyard and name tag.
  • Rewarding work with monthly giveaways (gift card or animal toy/treats).
  • Annual Therapy Dog wrap-up party (snacks & coffee).


Other Requirements

The WHS requires a Criminal Record and Child Abuse Registry check as part of its screening process to protect the organization, assure parents & guardians that volunteers have been properly screened, and minimize risk. This cost will be reimbursed upon completion of 24 hours of service within the Therapy Dog Program at the WHS.

Click on the Fill in an Application button located at the top of this page.