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join our paws therapy dog program!

Our volunteer dog handlers work with specially trained dogs to help support student wellness by providing

middle school and high school students an opportunity to interact with registered therapy dogs during

school or extracurricular activities.

Therapy dogs are trained to offer people comfort and affection. They are adept at being gentle and reassuring to humans they have never met in unfamiliar settings, setting them apart from the average pet.

how do I know if
my dog is a
good candidate?

  • Over the age of one-year-old

  • Demonstrates Basic Obedience Skills

  • Naturally calm demeanor

  • Patient

  • Attentive to training

  • A love to please

  • Confident

  • A love of human contact

benefits of dog therapy for teens

  • Promotes social interaction

  • Unconditional love

  • Non-judgmental interaction

  • Reduce stress, anxiety, and loneliness

  • Provide an overall positive distraction

  • Help put children at ease

benefits of becoming a Chris center handler

  • Access to our training workshops

  • Comprehensive liability insurance coverage

  • Group partners organized and scheduled for you

  • Includes an ID badge and a therapy vest

  • Support from our PAWS Team staff to help every step of the way

The Chris Center is actively seeking additional handler/dog teams to join our PAWS Therapy Dog Program. During the 2023 academic year, our PAWS Team will support student wellness at several partner organizations, including:

  • University High School

  • Guerin Catholic High School

  • The Orchard School (middle school)

  • Options Schools

  • Carmel Clay Public Library


If you enjoy spending time with your dog, have the desire to help teens in your community, and can commit to volunteering at least twice a month during regular school hours, then the TCC PAWS Team might be right for you! 

If you would like to join our PAWS Team and/or learn more about our program, please complete the below form below, and a Chris Center staff member will contact you to recommend the next steps. 


After speaking with a Chris Center staff member, you may be invited to complete the following steps:

  1. Complete our VOLUNTEER APPLICATION PACKET. This packet includes TCC PAWS Team policies and procedures, standards of conduct, dog health screening form to be completed by your veterinarian and the required liability waivers.

  2. Schedule your PAWS Team evaluation. A Chris Center staff member will schedule an evaluation for you and your dog with an AKC-approved evaluator. You can prepare for this evaluation by reviewing the SKILLS ASSESSMENT SHEET. An evaluation fee of $25 will be charged to cover the evaluator’s time and facility fees. After passing the evaluation, you will receive an email link to complete a background check.

  3. Submit your registration fee. There is a one-time registration fee of $50 to cover the cost of the handler's background check and required equipment (handler's identification badge and dog's therapy vest). Other costs such as liability insurance, staff time, and volunteer support are covered by generous individual donors, foundations, and corporate partners.

The Chris Center is committed to creating a volunteer force that is more representative of the populations we serve. We welcome unique perspectives and experiences in terms of national origin, culture, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, race, color, sex, gender identity and expression, education, age, languages spoken, veteran status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs, which help us strengthen our impact.

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