Personal Therapy Dog Adoption Program

TLC’s Companion Paws Therapy Dog Adoption Program continues to be open, accepting applications and facilitating adoptions during the pandemic. 

Companion Paws Canada, part of The LifeLine Canada Foundation, is dedicated to supporting Canadians in need while providing a second chance for pets by rescuing, pairing and training them, with those who would benefit from a companion therapy animal. One of the ways that we do this is through the Companion Paws Personal Therapy-Dog Adoption Program, the first of its kind in Canada and serving Canadians since 2017. Medical studies have shown that companion animals significantly improve mental and physical health, including reducing stress, depression and anxiety symptoms.

Companion Paws works with rescues across Canada and around North America to rescue dogs and pair them with their new owner based on each individual’s personality and dog’s temperament. Every individual, human and canine undergoes an intake assessment with our experienced staff, so the most suitable match can be made. Once a match is made, we support the new pair through training and obedience assessments. The level of training needed to complete the program is set by The LifeLine Canada Foundation, while the temperament assessments and final evaluations are performed by very experienced, professional trainers and behaviorists across Canada. Upon completion and passing of the therapy dog evaluation, the new certified team will receive a Companion Paws Canada Therapy Dog Vest, Identification Card and Certificate of Registration.

Please note Companion Paws Certified dogs are designated therapy dogs and are not certified as service dogs. For more information on the difference between therapy dogs, service dogs, and guide dogs, see here. Also please understand that these dogs are rescues and not trained Therapy dogs. The journey to your dog becoming fully trained and certified as a Therapy Dog involves time, dedication and being authentic with training. Please see Personal Therapy Adoption FAQs for further important information.

The Companion Paws Therapy Dog Adoption Process

  • Step 1 – Complete and submit the Application online with all required supporting documents together.
  • Step 2 – You will receive an email within 7 days from time of application, to schedule a call to go through the program, process and the next steps to move forward
  • Step 3 – Moving forward, the payment of $2800 can be made by E-transfer, Credit Card or Cheque and the contract signed.
  • Step 4 – You’ll be scheduled for the intake call with one of our wonderful Companion Paws team counsellors. If you are not approved for our Adoption program, you will be refunded your cost 100%.
  • Step 5 – Once the Assessors have ascertained the criteria for your dog, you will be scheduled for a call with our Companion Paws Training Manager.
  • Step 6 – Within 1 weeks time, an assessment will be made by our Companion Paws Team for final approval and to ascertain a suitable dog match for you and your family.
  • Step 7 – Upon final approval of acceptance into the program, within 2 weeks, you will be added to the dog search list.
  • Step 8 – Once a suitable dog has been found, we will work directly with you, the Rescue, Fosters and Assessors to confirm suitability. They will have health and vaccinations confirmed. Dogs under medical treatment will be fully healed and healthy prior to travel, transport and placement.
  • Step 9 – You will be scheduled for a zoom call withour Training Manager and will be emailed a package to fully prepare for your dog’s arrival.
  • Step 10 – Just prior to the adoption placement, a final assessment will be performed for confirmation of temperament and suitability.
  • Step 11 – Upon confirmation and final approval of suitability, the dog will be placed in his/her new forever home.
  • Step 12 – After settling-in time for the applicant and their new forever best friend, the handler and their new dog will be required to begin training. All these costs are covered by the Program!
  • Step 13 – Once training is complete and your dog is very well trained and ready, the handler will be registered into TLC’s Companion Paws Therapy Dog Skills Training Online Course.
  • Step 14 – Once you have successfully completed TLC’s Companion Paws Skills Training Online Course, the handler will schedule a Temperament Assessment with a local Companion Paws Assessor.
  • Step 15 – When an applicant passes the Temperament Assessment, they move forward to the scheduled date for the Final Evaluation.
  • Step 16 – When the handler and dog pass the Companion Paws Final Evaluation, The LifeLine Canada Foundation will forward registration documentation by email, to be completed by the handler and returned by email with all required supporting documentation.
  • Step 17 – Once all registration documentation is received, the handler will be mailed a Companion Paws Therapy Dog vest, Identification Card and Certificate of Registration.
  • Step 18 – Continue to maintain and keep up with training at all times.
  • Step 19 – Complete a follow-up call with a Companion Paws team counsellor
  • Step 20 – Complete online follow-up form every 6 months.
  • Step 21 – Complete all annual requirements for Companion Paws Personal Therapy Dog Registration, including annual renewal of $95 and annual re-assessment.  The annual renewal fee covers the cost of the annual re-assessment.
  • Step 22 – Keep up on skills training for the life of the dog in order to keep the amazing connection and bond.

Important Documentation to be Submitted with Application

Please have your licensed and registered mental health treatment provider write a letter stating your diagnosis with a recommendation for a personal therapy dog  aka emotional support dog. This should be on professional letter head with date, contact details, business practice and license with the licensed provider’s signature.

If you rent the home you live in, you must include your landlord’s permission letter with your application. There is a section for uploads during the process. Any applications with missing information will not be reviewed. The required information is used to ascertain suitability and dog criteria. Please read our privacy policy.

Please see Personal Therapy Adoption FAQs for further important information.