Career Awareness

Caring Canines Animal Therapy

Therapy Dogs provide empathy and compassion, increase morale and motivation while nurturing human-animal interactions. At the same time, canines minimize stress and anxiety through distractions from illness while supporting social, physical and mental health. It is because of these benefits that Complementary and Integrative Medicine offers Animal Therapy services through the Mayo Clinic Volunteer program Caring Canines. If you are interested in helping patients through the benefits that animal therapy provides, know they are always looking for new handlers!



Your Dog Must:

  • Be friendly, well-mannered and listen to your commands at all times, predictable, reliable, controllable, comfortable being touched and crowded by a lot of people
  • Obtain registration as Pet Partners Therapy Animal Team
    • Successful passing scores on Pet Partners Skills Test (PPST) and Pet Partners Aptitude Test (PPAT)
  • Successfully complete an evaluation by a Mayo Clinic Caring Canine Coordinator. Contact Jessica Smidt ( to arrange.   

You Must:

  • Be a Mayo Clinic Volunteer 
  • Be able to communicate with patients, their families, staff, volunteers and other Caring Canines volunteers
  • Demonstrate that you have complete control of your canine at all times
  • Follow all Mayo Clinic Caring Canine and Pet Partners rules and regulations
  • Attend Shadow Orientation
    • Shadow an experienced Caring Canine Volunteer team without your dog.
  • Provide current veterinarian records
    • Complete exam, vaccinations and negative fecal specimen
  • Complete Caring Canine Orientation
    • 2-3 supervised visits with your dog
  • Conduct pet visits on a regularly scheduled basis

To learn more, contact the Mayo Clinic Caring Canines Program Coordinator at 507-538-1407.

Mayo Clinic and Mayo Clinic Health System locations offer a variety of pet therapy programs at campuses in Arizona and Florida, Eau Claire and LaCrosse in Wisconsin, and Mankato and Rochester in Minnesota.