Animal-Assisted Therapy

Founded in 1986 -- A nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization

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This form of therapeutic modality is the introduction of an animal into the immediate environment of an individual or group, as a medium for interaction for the purpose of causing physical, psychosocial, or emotional responses. Other names of the same format are animal-facilitated therapy, pet-facilitated therapy, pet-assisted therapy, or companion-animal-assisted therapy.

Research has shown that many humans have a natural love for animals. Some have pets as companion animals for emotional support, stress relief, companionship when alone, entertainment, sport, or sociability. If properly utilized, this bonding furnishes a format for responsive interactions not otherwise possible by other human stimuli.

PAT Therapy Dogs:

  • ARE NOT Service or Assistance Dogs. PAT Therapy Dogs are privately owned “pets’ who have been registered and certified through a selection and training program, which in turn allows them and their handlers, as a “therapy team,” to provide a special “service” to populations in many different types of facilities in the community. In their “working” capacity they provide a type of “therapy” to those with whom they work;
  • ONLY have access to authorized PAT facilities;
  • DO NOT have free access to public buildings or public transit/transportation;
  • ARE NOT trained to be placed with a person who has a physical disability, psychological disorder, or medical diagnosis to assist them in any manner;
  • DO NOT have the same legal rights as Assistance or Service Dogs since they perform no tasks, nor provide support which is directly related to a PAT owner/handler’s disability or condition;
  • ARE NOT recognized by the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) as “service or assistance” animals. To identify a PAT Therapy Dog as a Service Dog is disrespectful of the rights of persons having an impairment or disability that substantially limits them in one or more of their major life activities which would require the use of a certified service/assistance animal. Such action made by a PAT member/representative may affect the continuance of the PAT Therapy Dog registration/and or PAT membership.

For further information on Service/Assistance Dogs, identification and access, contact

PAWS ACROSS TEXAS, INC. (PAT) provides free of charge consultations and inservices for facilities and their staff for assisting in the establishment of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) programs, addressing policies and procedures, infection control, and legal issues. All PAT programs are individually structured to meet the needs of each facility and its population. Policies, protocol, guidelines, and facility agreements must be established prior to receipt of a PAT program. This information is provided in the PAT Facility Introductory Packet.

Each year PAT participates in multiple health-oriented fairs, conferences, symposiums and seminars, provides presentations for local civic and community-related organizations, and exhibits at animal or other similar community informational events and fund raisers.


Paws Across Texas, Inc. (PAT) reserves the right to restrict and approve the use and distribution of all information and documentation, in any form, directly related to PAT, its policies and procedures.

The training techniques and programming provided by PAT remain the property of the PAT organization and duplication without permission is prohibited. Materials are protected by Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S. Code).

© PAT 1988