Check out these national organizations to learn more or to sign up:
Delta Society has more than 10,000 volunteers nationwide and accepts Pet Partners volunteers starting at 10 years old. They also allow other pets—including cats, rabbits, and birds—to participate.
Therapy Dogs Inc. allows children ages 12 to 16 to become handlers through the approval of an Exceptions Committee and requires its 12,000 members to complete a minimum of four annual visits.
Therapy Dogs International has no minimum age requirement and doesn't allow dogs to be registered by multiple organizations. Its 19,000 members represent the oldest and largest therapy dog organization in the United States.
Originally published in the September 2010 issue of Family Circle magazine.