Pet Therapy

Recognizing the myriad of benefits that the relationship between people and pets can provide, Bideawee launched its Pet Therapy Program in 1986. We train handlers and animals to be able to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and more to provide love and companionship to those in need.

Pet Therapy

Reading to Dogs

Through our innovative Reading to Dogs program, a Pet Therapy Volunteer Team is paired with a child who needs help with reading. Children hone their confidence and skills by reading to a nonjudgemental audience. For information on hosting a Reading to Dogs visit in your school or library, please contact your local volunteer manager.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Pet Therapy?

Children and adults in health care and special education facilities visited by our pet therapy pairs enjoy a positive impact on their quality of life. For some, pet therapy visits are their only contact with the outside world. The pairs often become part of the family and eagerly look forward to making their next visit. In turn, the patients and residents delight in the cuddles, love and friendship these visits bring. The opportunity to receive the unconditional love and acceptance of the animals provides medical and emotional benefits such as lower blood pressure, stress relief, decreased feelings of loneliness and depression, and increased responsiveness. Pet therapy teams also visit schools and libraries to help students with learning and reading difficulties in our Reading to Dogs Program.

How can I become a Pet Therapy Team Member?

The Bideawee Pet Therapy program is a way for pet lovers to share the unconditional love and companionship of their pet with the community. This is only available through our Wantagh location at this time.

To qualify for certification, you and your pet (of any kind) must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The person handling the animal must be at least 10 years old. Handlers younger than 16 must be accompanied by and have written permission to participate from a parent or guardian
  • All animals must have lived in the owner’s home for at least 6 months.
  • Dogs must be at least one year when the animal is evaluated.
  • Dogs trained to aggressively protect and/or encouraged to actively bite, even as a component of a dog sport, may not be pet therapy volunteers.
  • Your dog should know basic obedience commands and should be calm, friendly, outgoing and predictable.
  • Your dog should feel comfortable around people in wheelchairs or using crutches or walkers & around people with unusual movements, and/or loud outbursts.
  • Your dog should be in good health and well groomed, with up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Your dog cannot be taking antibiotics, antifungals, or immunosuppressants (including steroid and chemotherapy medications).
  • Your dog must be spayed/neutered.  Your dog may not consume a raw protein diet.

To become a certified pet therapy team, you must complete the following steps:

  • Email [email protected] to express your interest.
  • Pass an onsite prescreening evaluation
  • Complete Bideawee application and paperwork (Free criminal background check, this does not include a credit check)
  • Dogs only: Attend the 5-week training course (1 hour, once a week)
  • Complete the PetPartners online training course
  • Pass your final evaluation
  • Start your work as a Bideawee pet therapy team

For more information, please visit

Contact Us

Let us know how we can help you get involved with Bideawee's Pet Therapy Program!

Franny Kent
Director of Volunteer Experience

3300 Beltagh Avenue, Wantagh, NY 11793
866-262-8133 x.7331
[email protected]