Delta Therapy Dogs
Delta is a national leader in the delivery of Animal Assisted Interventions, with over 1,200 volunteers delivering Animal Assisted Activities, Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Education in hospitals, aged care facilities, youth services, mental health services, correctional facilities, and other health and community services right across Australia.
The benefits of therapy animals are scientifically proven. Therapy Dogs have a positive impact on social, emotional, physical and physiological health, improving quality of life and well-being.
We work with our facility partners to determine the right type of program delivery, and assist in establishing robust program design in their facility which will see the program beneficiaries establish strong animal-human bonds with our Therapy Dogs and human-human bonds with our volunteers.
Delta’s Therapy Dog Teams are an amazing group of volunteers and their beloved pet dogs, who willingly give their time and commitment to support our program delivery. Volunteers are recruited against a set of selection criteria and their dogs against strict temperament and skills assessment. They are trained and supported to deliver our programs in conjunction with our facility partners.
Our national team of staff and volunteers love what we do, and the impact that we have on the lives of over 20,000 people each and every week.
Delta Therapy Digi-Dogs
While Delta Therapy Dogs in-person program delivery has a national reach, unfortunately at this time this mode of delivery does have some geographic limits due to the on-going assessment and training that our Therapy Dog Teams undertake.
However, we now have specially trained Therapy Dog Teams who can deliver Animal Assisted Activities via video call – meaning there are no bounds to the joy that we can help animals bring to people both nationally and internationally.
Become a Facility Partner
Want to introduce Animal Assisted Activities or Animal Assisted Therapy to your facility? We would love to be a part of your journey and partner with you to establish and provide the ongoing support required to implement our program successfully in your facility.
We offer our Therapy Dogs program to aged care facilities, hospitals and other public health facilities, correctional facilities, and government or for-purpose organisations delivering mental health, youth, disability or other community services. At this stage we do not deliver services to individuals unless they are receiving service from an organisation with whom we can partner, and nor are we an approved NDIS Provider. We do deliver Animal Assisted Education to schools and libraries through our Classroom Canines program.
If you do not fall in to one of the categories above it doesn’t mean you need to miss out on receiving a visit from a Therapy Dog however – jump over to our Paws the Pressure program page to read more.
After thoroughly reading the Frequently Asked Questions below we would invite you to click on the link below to read more and to send through your Expression of Interest. One of our State Program Coordinators will then be in touch to discuss the next steps.
Volunteer for Us
Are you motivated by a desire to bring joy to the lives of our Program Beneficiaries by sharing your pet dog?
Are you adaptable and resilient?
Do you have excellent verbal and interpersonal skills and a good level of energy when engaging with others?
Do you have a positive relationship with your dog and embrace positive rewards-based training?
Does your dog thrive off affection from people?
Does your dog have a good level of obedience and a calm demeanour?
Is your dog aged between 18months and 9 years of age?
Do you have at least 1.5hrs to spare on a fortnightly basis?
If so we would love to hear from you – we are always looking for more volunteers to join the Delta family! If you think you and your special four legged friend are a good fit we'd love to receive your application for the role of Therapy Dog Team.
After thoroughly reading the Frequently Asked Questions below we would invite you to click on the link to read more and to send through your Expression of Interest for the role. One of our State Program Coordinators will then be in touch to discuss the next steps.
Frequently Asked Questions
What's so special about Delta Therapy Teams?
Each team consists of a volunteer and their beloved pet dog. Each volunteer has been recruited to the role based on our selection criteria, and dogs have undergone strict temperament testing to determine its suitability also. Our Therapy Dog Teams love the work that they do, and thrive on bringing joy to our program beneficiaries.
Where in Australia does the program operate?
We currently operate in-person programs in Townsville, Cairns and South East Queensland (inc. Toowomba); Hunter/Newcastle, Central Coast and Sydney in New South Wales; Canberra and surrounds; Albury/Wodonga, Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo in Victoria; Hobart and Devonport in Tasmania; Adelaide, South Australia; and Perth, Western Australia. Our Delta Therapy Digi-Dogs program is available nationally or internationally.
If you operate / reside outside these regions please get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss further.
It should be noted that at this time our waitlist for interview and assessment of volunteer Applicants is significant in some areas, and so you may have to be patient with us as we only have approximately 2 – 4 intakes a year.
What is the frequency of the service delivery?
A dedicated Therapy Dog Team (or teams) will provide the program on a fortnightly basis for up to 90minutes. We ask our partner facilities and volunteers to commit to at least 12 months, though if need arises we can work to find replacements. If you would like to receive program delivery on a more frequent basis we would be happy to look to place multiple Therapy Dog Teams in your facility.
Is there a cost for facilities?
We ask our partner facilities to contribute $1,000 a year for each visiting Therapy Dog Team. This contribution goes towards recruitment, assessment, training, program coordination and governance and on-going support for volunteers and facility partners. As a non-profit organisation Delta Therapy Dogs fundraises to cover the difference between the facility contribution and actual running costs of the program.
What are the benefits of the Therapy Dogs Program?
The human-animal bond can impact people and animals in so many positive ways. Research shows therapy dogs can reduce a person’s stress physiologically (cortisol levels) and increase attachment responses that trigger oxytocin – otherwise known as the Love Hormone. Evidence has shown that there is improved physical, social, cognitive, emotional and environmental outcomes for a person who interacts with a dog on a regular basis.
Dogs too have been proven to have the same physiological reaction when they have participated in Animal Assisted Interventions.
Click here to read more about the benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions.
Aren't dogs dirty and don't they carry germs?
In an word, no! We ask our volunteers to ensure their dogs are washed before making their visits, so they will carry in no more "dirt" than what might be carried in by a human's shoes. It is also a requirement that Delta dogs are vaccinated to the highest level, and are treated regularly for worms and fleas. There are also very few "germs" that dogs carry that can affect humans (a sick human visitor is a much higher risk than a healthy dog visitor).
What is the cost?
As a non-profit organisation Delta Society relies heavily on donations and support from the community to keep our service operating. We ask facilities that wish to participate in the Delta Therapy Dogs program to contribute $1000 a year for each visiting Therapy Dog Team. This contribution goes towards supporting all of our wonderful Therapy Dogs Teams nationally and covers recruitment, assessment, training, insurance, uniforms and other support. Our volunteers do not receive any remuneration for their participation.
Can I get my dog trained to become a Delta Therapy Dog?
If you feel your dog needs further training before attempting to become a Therapy Dog, please contact one of our Delta dog trainers who will be able to assist you. There's a search function on the Delta Institute website where you can find a trainer near you - www.deltainstitute.edu.au
What are Animal Assisted Interventions?
Our Therapy Dog Teams work with our partner facilities to deliver an intervention which is designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning of the person(s) involved. There are three main types of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), including Animal Assisted Education (AAE). Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) and Animal Assisted Activities (AAA). AAT is goal orientated and documented, and our Therapy Dog Teams work in a partnership model alongside a practitioner with specialised expertise. This robust models means that the Delta Therapy Dog volunteer can focus on the dog while the practitioner can focus on the program beneficiary, and in partnership can work to achieve the human-animal bond designed to achieve the goals of the intervention. AAA on the other hand is generally less goal-directed and has more focus on general wellbeing and quality of life.
Does Delta Therapy Dogs provide Therapy Dog Accreditation, Training or Public Access Tests?
No, we do not provide accreditation services for Therapy Dogs. Delta Therapy Dogs assess dogs to take on the role of Therapy Dog Team with Delta Therapy Dogs. While we advise volunteer applicants what the outcome of this assessment is, we do not provide any documentation for use outside our organisation.
While we provide training to our Therapy Dog Teams as part of their induction and on-going support in their role within our organisation, we do not provide specific Therapy Dog Training for use outside our organisation.
To be recognised as an Assistance Dog within Australian legislation, all dogs must pass a Public Access Test (PAT) before they can be certified to access public places and public passenger vehicles. Delta Therapy Dogs does not provide PAT assessments.
What is the difference between a Therapy Dog, an Assistance Dog and an Emotional Support Dog?
Assistance Dogs is the general term for guide, hearing or psychiatric dogs. Assistance dogs are specifically trained to perform identifiable tasks to increase independence and/or quality of life. For more information provision and/or training of Assistance Dogs you can contact one of the following organisations:
Emotional Support Dogs are not recognised under Australian law and has no public access rights. There are no requirements or behaviour standards for emotional support dogs, but their presence may support a person through depression, anxiety or another medical condition.
Generally speaking an Assistance Dog cannot also work as a Therapy Dog, as the dog is trained to focus on their handler at all times and it could compromise the effectiveness of their primary work if they are also being asked to focus on other people as part of their Therapy Dog work. However Delta is happy to assess this on a case-by-case basis as it will likely depend on the tasks the Assistance Dog is required to perform.