Therapy dogs are well-loved by their handlers, as well as many patients of the hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, and schools they visit. However, because they are not protected by ADA law as service dogs are, there may be occasions where a handler may have to make a case for having their therapy dog in a public place — even a place where the dog is there to provide comfort and affection.
The presence of patches attached to a therapy dog vest can help avoid conflict before it even starts. Here are 4 different kinds of patches that handlers can use to give their therapy dog a professional appearance.
When bringing a dog into any public place, it can be useful to inform the public of its purpose. Letting occupants of the building know that the dog is a therapy dog using patches and therapy dog vests can help clear up any confusion.
”Please Pet Me”
The “Please Pet Me” patch invites members of the public to pet the animal, which can build trust and support. Service dog handlers do not always allow the public to pet their dogs; clearly stating this on your therapy dog vests encourages the public to approach rather than mistrust the animal, and shows that the dog is friendly, well-behaved, and has a purpose for being in the building.
Therapy dog vests with the “Battle Buddy” patch suggests that the dog is there to help those who have served in the military. Many veterans suffer from PTSD or traumatic brain injuries, and for them a therapy dog can make a huge difference in improving their quality of life. The “Battle Buddy” patch is designed with bold white letters on a black background, as well as a silhouette of a dog against an American flag, which offers an official look that handlers may find helpful.
Those who are displeased by the presence of a dog in a public place can be especially hard on therapy dogs in training. “In Training” patches attached to therapy dogs vests can alleviate some of these reactions, as it lets objectors know that the dog has not yet fully mastered staying calm in a public place.
Keep in mind that, unlike therapy dogs, service dogs do not require any identification to accompany their handler into public places. Therefore, it can be extra helpful to outfit therapy dogs with therapy dog vests, patches, and ID tags.