Therapy & Facility Dogs


Therapy Dogs
Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes! Their most important characteristic is their temperament; they are friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease with strangers. They are comfortable staying in place, whether it is on a floor, chair, couch, bed or lap, or in their handler’s arms. A therapy dog not only enjoys human contact and excessive petting, but seeks it out.

Therapy dogs have mastered basic obedience and may even perform a few tricks that will definitely make someone’s day. They go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, libraries, and nursing homes. They help people suffering PTSD, Alzheimer’s, literacy challenges, chronic illness, or anxiety to name a few. These teams help to relieve stress and loneliness, while giving unconditional love with a wagging tail to everyone they meet. They break daily routines and help with emotional well-being. Petting a dog can lower blood pressure, improve the physical and emotional lives of those they visit, even be an antidote to depression. These Exceptional Service Dog Teams are amazing ambassadors as they bring joy and put smiles on people’s faces everywhere, from seniors to young children.

While therapy dogs are working dogs, they are not Service Animals. Federal law does not legally define Therapy Pets and they do not have any legal protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Therapy dogs are only allowed into facilities where they have been invited or that are open to pets. When asked to make an appearance, we educate the public on the difference between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs and there is no better way than to bring both types of dogs with us.

Our Therapy Dog Teams are required to volunteer 10 hours a year promoting The Exceptional Sidekick at school events and fundraisers, such as the Newtown Labor Day Parade, Sandy Hook Career Day, Bridgewater Fair, and community outreach programs. In their spare time teams visit places of their choosing that they feel passionate about helping. We have many Therapy Dogs that accompany their handlers to work as well.

TESSD Therapy Dog Training Course Guidelines:

  • Dogs must in good health, sound body, and well groomed.
  • All age of dogs can participate in class.
  • Handlers can be 13 and up (supervised by an adult if under 18).
  • Dogs must be trained using only positive training techniques.
  • Dogs may wear harnesses, flat collars, or head collars.
  • No choke or prong collars allowed.
  • Dogs can never show fear, shyness, aggression, or agitation.
  • If they get startled they should recover quickly.
Course Fee: $200, 6 sessions, held once per week at The Exceptional Pet, 3 Simm Lane, Newtown, CT. Please contact us to determine if your dog meets the temperament requirements and basic obedience prerequisites to start training for this rewarding work today. At the completion of this class the instructor will confirm if you are ready to test or if you still have skills to work on. All testing will be done through The Exceptional Sidekick Therapy Dog Program.



Facility Dogs

The Exceptional Sidekick Facility Dogs are trained to perform tasks that would help in all types of work environments. For many of these facilities the dog might just need to lay with a person to make them feel more comfortable. If needed, they can go a step further and apply Deep Pressure Therapy during treatments. Facility dogs can also be trained to retrieve for rehabilitation and do tricks as rewards for desirable behaviors at school. They offer unconditional love and comfort to everyone they meet. They bring a sense of calmness and security to clients who might be struggling in the moment. They are essentially full-time therapy dogs with some extra training to suit your needs.


Facility dogs are exceptionally trained therapy dogs who partner with a handler to accompany them to work in countless different professions such as:

Librarians                                      Airports
Pediatricians                                 Hospitals
Occupational                                 Phlebotomists
Physical Therapists                      Nursing Homes
Mental Health Professionals      Special Education Teams





For more info