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Therapy Dog Program


Therapy Dog, Ita, sitting and wearing an orange Therapy Dog vest.

Therapy Dog Program

The Therapy Dog Program is a community focused service which has been offered by Guide Dogs NSW/ACT for over 30 years. A Therapy Dog may provide comfort, companionship and emotional support to individuals, families, and those attending or residing in facilities, whom experience behavioural, emotional, developmental and mental health conditions, physical disabilities, or isolation caused by age or illness.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT currently offer two Therapy Dog Programs: Therapy Dogs for individuals and Therapy Dogs for residential facilities.

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT is a sponsor, donor and volunteer driven charity which receives less than 10% funding from the government. Public generosity allows dogs from the Therapy Dog Program to be placed with clients free of charge. Please consider however the ongoing costs of dog ownership as outlined in the Self-Assessment.

Donations are always welcome! Donate here

To apply for a Therapy Dog for yourself, a family member or your facility please contact tdp [at]

or the Guide Dog Centre on 02 4579 7555 and request an application.

Therapy Dog Basil, sat facing the camera whilst laying in a school classroom.

Therapy Dog FAQs

  • Am I eligible?

Please see sample Therapy Dog Self-Assessment to check for eligibility. Please note you will be required to complete this self-assessment as part of your application should you proceed.

  • Do Therapy Dogs have public access rights?

Therapy Dogs are placed with clients in the capacity of a companion animal, not an assistance animal, and therefore do not have public access rights.

Although Therapy Dogs are matched to clients based on a carefully considered criteria, Therapy Dogs are not trained in behaviours to specifically assist with alleviating or mitigating a client’s health concerns, and therefore are not considered an Assistance Animal. Please see for more information regarding assistance dog standards and types.

Should you wish to take your Therapy Dog into public places such as medical appointments, school grounds, café’s, etc. you will need to seek permission from each individual establishment which may or may not grant access.

Therapy Dogs are permitted in housing under the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

Guide Dogs NSW/ACT complies with the Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and the Companion Animals Act 1988 NSW Legislation in relation to welfare, training, allocation, and public access of Therapy Dogs.

  • What breeds are your dogs?

Dogs used in the Therapy Dog Program are Labrador Retrievers, and Labrador/Golden Retriever mix. We do not offer small breed dogs.

  • What age are your dogs?

Dogs in the Therapy Dog Program are typically placed with clients when they are 14-18 months of age.

  • Do you provide low allergenic dogs?

Unfortunately, no. If you experience allergic reactions to dog hair, please be aware that Labradors and Labrador/Golden Retriever mixes shed a lot of hair, and this may irritate those whom have allergies to dog hair. 

  • What is the process to receiving a Therapy Dog?

  1. Request an application via email or phone.
  2. Complete the application and return to tdp [at]

    or post to Guide Dog Centre PO Box 3104 Freemans Reach NSW 2756.
  3. A member from the Therapy Dog Program Team will contact you to discuss your application and potentially arrange an in home/in facility assessment.
  4. If successful, you will be placed on the waiting list for a dog match. 


For more information please contact tdp [at]

or call the Guide Dog Centre on (02) 4579 7555.