Therapy pets are usually the personal pets of their handlers. They work as a team with their handler to provide a variety of services to others. Therapy pet teams volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. In addition to providing emotional and social support, Therapy Pets may also help individuals achieve physical and educational goals. For example, throwing a ball to a dog to increase mobility, or having children read aloud to a dog.

Therapy pets are most often dogs but can be animals of other species. Therapy dogs are working dogs (dogs with jobs), but they are not Service Animals (I give a presentation to the class and activity regarding the difference between therapy animals, service animals, and emotional support animals and how to react to them within the community.

To become a certified Therapy Pet, most organizations have evaluations, the handler and pet must pass as a team. Certification typically includes insurance coverage, consistent visit and behavior guidelines, animal health assurances, and cleanliness standards.

Love on a Leash mission statement:


Love on a Leash® is committed to bringing comfort, happiness, and healing to more people nationwide by increasing public awareness of pet-provided therapy.  Our volunteer organization provides an accessible certification process that allows qualified therapy teams to provide effective pet-provided therapy services in their community
I hope this information helps. I do have paperwork that I usually post in my classroom that allows parents to know that both dogs had to pass certification through evaluations. I will locate them after the move (or request new ones) and post them in my new classroom.

Franklin can not become an official therapy dog until he is one year old, but he can be “in training”. He will also have to go through the certification process which I typically do over a school break  Love on a leash does not certify horses so Maverick will continue his “training” until he needs certification and will have to be certified through another program.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else. You can also direct any questions, comments and/or concerns from students/staff/parents to me. I’d be happy to answer to the best of my knowledge.

Deana, Roy, Ollie, Maverick, and Franklin

Oliver is a 2.5-year-old French Bulldog and has been a therapy dog since he was one-year-old! Ollie has a loving temperament along with his stubborn streak that we all love. Ollie enjoys random mad dash zoomies through the quad and napping in bean bag chairs-be careful if you leave your bean bag unattended as he will steal it. According to Ms. Deidra if this happens you have been “Olivered”! Ollie enjoys providing support to students as well as staff and attends staff meetings on a regular basis. You can always find Ollie with our student support advisor, Mr. Riley.

Roy is an eight-year-old Golden Retriever. Some people like to say he is half Golden and half bear since he is so big and cuddly. He is the epitome of what a therapy dog should be: lovable, sweet, affectionate, loyal, giving, the list goes on and on. The best description for him is “good boy”. At the elementary school, he was last working in he was known as “Roy the Good Boy”. Roy has been working as a therapy dog for several years and has volunteered his time for reading programs, assisted living, adult daycare centers, as well as retirement homes. Roy also has a strong sense of knowing who is under stress or anxiety and will go lay his head in their lap or lay at their feet. Roy not only excels in his work as a therapy dog but also could be a supermodel if that was a thing for dogs! Roy enjoys just about everything but his favorite thing in the world is his beloved frisbee, brother Oliver, and PE with Mr. Riley.

Maverick came to Winston last fall. Maverick was rescued from the kill pens in Texas, on his way to providing a meal for the big cats at the zoo. He arrived in bad shape but with love, care, and a proper diet, Maverick has been transformed into Mighty Maverick the Mini Horse. Mondays at Winston has also been dubbed as “Maverick Monday”. Maverick can be seen trotted around campus on most Monday’s (he likes to stay home when it rains).

The newest addition of the Winston staff is Franklin, another French Bulldog. After a week of name suggestions from students he was finally named Franklin (seems like a fitting name for a history teacher like his mom). Franklin has already made an impact on working with students, providing staff support and attending meetings during the last week of school. Franklin will continue his therapy dog training in order to pass his Canine Good Citizen and meet eligibility for team observation through the therapy dog program.