TDI info

Therapy Dogs International “A Dog Will Love You Forever”

What Is TDI?

Therapy Dogs International (TDI®) is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their Therapy Dogs for visitations to institutions, facilities, and any other place where Therapy Dogs are needed. TDI is a non-profit organization. There is no charge for visitations. All funds are derived from Associate Membership dues. Donations or bequests are welcome. The primary objective of the TDI dog and handler is to provide comfort and companionship by sharing the dog with the patients in hospitals, nursing homes and other institutions and wherever else the Therapy Dog is needed. This is done in a way that increases emotional well-being, promotes healing, and improves the quality of life for the people being visited and the staff that cares for these people.

Who Belongs to TDI?

Volunteer handlers and their dogs are located throughout the United States and Canada and some other countries. TDI was founded in 1976 and has its headquarters in Flanders, New Jersey. In 1989 TDI was completely reorganized under the direction of the current volunteer President/CEO, Ursula A. Kempe. Canine membership includes both purebred and mixed breed dogs. All dogs are tested and evaluated for Therapy Dog work by Certified TDI Evaluators. While many dogs provide love and companionship in the home, not all dogs are qualified or have the temperament suited to be a Therapy Dog. TDI’s standards are extremely high. How Can Health Care Professionals Use TDI Dogs? Regular visits from Therapy Dogs and their handlers provide stimulation for conversation in mental health counseling. TDI Dogs can even encourage interest in physical therapy. (Not only does petting a dog’s shiny coat feel good, it can be used as the basis for exercise and a reason to start physical therapy.) TDI Dogs elevate the mood of the facility in general and specifically with the staff and residents’ family members. Families feel better having their loved one live in a facility where the staff cares enough to arrange Therapy Dog visits.

What Do TDI Dogs Do?

The dogs bring sparkle to a sterile day, provide a lively subject for conversation, and rekindle old memories of previously owned pets. TDI Dogs come in all shapes and sizes; real dogs with real personalities and real love to share. Some have pedigrees, some have been adopted. All are very proud to wear their TDI Tags. The volunteers in the program and the dogs who visit with those in care facilities do make a difference in the quality of life. Real therapy is provided between animals and people. The first time a dog prances into a care facility, most people do a double take. A split second later broad smiles stretch across faces. Regardless of how residents look or how they feel, the animals are happy to see them. Those who live or must stay in a care facility truly benefit from the unconditional love and acceptance provided by TDI Dogs. Typically, there is an immediate response to the tail wagging greetings and warm paws. Four-footed therapists give something special to enhance the health and well-being of others. It has been clinically proven that through petting, touching, and talking with animals, patients’ blood pressure is lowered, stress is relieved, and depression is eased. TDI is aware of the necessity for continuing clinical studies on the human-animal bond and TDI volunteers are willing to participate whenever needed. Each TDI volunteer as an individual has made tremendous difference in the lives of so many, by sharing their canine companion with those who no longer are able to have a dog of their own. Just think! How sad it would be if you could never touch a dog again.