There’s nothing quite like the warmth of a cold nose. Cuddling up with a canine friend can boost your spirits when you’re feeling low. Therapy dogs provide comfort to people in hospitals, nursing homes and schools, and to those with disabilities and enduring difficult situations. While service dogs directly assist people, therapy dogs simply soothe people who need a furry friend through petting, holding, and sometimes doing simple tricks or playing games. Whereas service dogs are legally defined, therapy dogs are not. Most institutions that allow therapy dogs require that they pass a behavioral test such as the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen test.
While any size dog can be a therapy pet, small dogs in particular are well-suited for the job because they can be lifted into beds if a person is immobile. They also can be held more easily than larger dogs. When it comes to therapy dogs, temperament is most important. They should be friendly, gentle and have a calm demeanor. They also should like to be petted and handled. Read on learn about the 10 best dogs for therapy work.