80 Powder Mill Road

Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Get that dog off the couch!

(973) 292-3316
(888) 738-5770
Fax: (973) 292-9559

FAQs

We are happy to connect and answer any of your questions. If your
question is not on our FAQ list, please contact us.

How old does my dog have to be to take the pet therapy test?
Dogs must be at least one year old to be tested. Dogs who are adopted from rescue groups must be living with their handlers for at least six months before testing.
Does my dog have to be a purebred?
No. Any dog is eligible to be a Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dog – mixed breeds, rescues, retired show dogs and obedience dogs have all made fine therapy dogs. We are non-breed discriminatory.
What does my dog have to do in order to prepare for the test?
Dogs must pass the Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dog Certification Analysis. The test exercises are on our website (view here), so you can train and practice. You can also see a video of the test in action (see video)
Does my dog need to have taken formal obedience lessons?
No. The Bright & Beautiful therapy dog test is not an obedience test. It tests your dog’s ability to succeed in a typical therapy dog setting and is a more casual atmosphere. We've had Obedience Trial Champions that didn't make good therapy dogs at all. Some training is useful prior to taking the test so that your dog listens to you and is calm. For a list of dog trainers who can provide classes, click here.
What types of health requirements are there for a dog to be a pet therapy dog?
Your dog must be up to date on regular vaccines, such as Rabies, DHLPP and Bordatella. We accept titers for DHLPP and Bordatella ONLY if your dog has been proven to be reactive to shots. In addition, your dog must be clean, neat, parasite free, have trimmed nails and a pleasant smell. Holistic treatment is also a consideration but may limit you to facilities available. All members must adhere to the Bright & Beautiful health requirements.
Is your therapy dog test the same as The AKC Canine Good Citizen® test?
No, the Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dog test is not The AKC Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) test. The B&BTD test simulates what happens on a real therapy dog visit. The CGC test is a program that instills a sense of responsibility and good manners in dogs and owners alike (www.akc.org). The American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen® test and award can be provided upon request only. We do not require the CGC before you take the B&BTD test.
How do I sign up for the B&B therapy dog test?
B&B has a network of certified evaluators in most US states. You can work with whoever is most convenient for you, based on your location. Find an evaluator near you. If you are located in Northern New Jersey or can travel there, we also offer a monthly schedule of testing at convenient locations. Click here for our NJ testing schedule. If you wish to sign up for a monthly open test,
please call our office at 973-292-3316 or toll free at 888-PET-5770.
If my dog does not pass the test, may I retake it? If so, when am I eligible to retest?
You can retake the B&B therapy dog test any time you and your dog feel ready to do so – the next day if you wish. There is no fee to retake the test.
I live more than two hours away from a B&B certified evaluator. How can I get tested to become a member of B&B?
Bright & Beautiful offers a long distance qualification process for prospective members who are located more than two hours away from a B&BTD certified evaluator and are thus unable to be tested in person. The long distance process uses the American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen® (CGC) test as the foundation, and requires the prospective member to submit professional and facility references. For more details, review the webpage on the long distance process
I’d love to do therapy work with my dog. How do we join B&BTD?
First, you and your dog must pass the B&B therapy dog test. Then, you apply for membership with us. The process requires that you submit a signed membership form, the health certificate completed by your veterinarian, a head shot photo of your dog, and the membership fee ($50 for the first team, $15 for each additional handler or dog). The Evaluator who oversees your test will guide you through the membership application process. For more information, refer to the web page on becoming a member.
How often do I need to renew my membership with B&BTD?

Membership with Bright & Beautiful is on an annual basis. Each active member is mailed a B&B renewal form 1 – 2 months before the membership expiration date. To renew, B&BTD requires a signed renewal form, updated medical records, and the renewal fee ($40 for the first team and $15 for each additional handler or dog). The renewal form and renewal check must be mailed to our office at 80 Powder Mill Road, Morris Plains, NJ 07950. Updated medical records may be mailed, emailed to [email protected] or faxed to 973-292-9559. For more information, refer to the webpage on renewals.

How much time do I need to commit to volunteering each month?
Bright & Beautiful Guidelines require that each therapy dog team volunteers a minimum of one hour every month. However, we acknowledge that some dogs and handlers have more time and ability and wish to volunteer more frequently. If so, we urge our handlers to keep the dog’s interest and energy level in mind and watch for signs of stress or boredom. A therapy dog team should NEVER visit more than one facility in any given day.
What types of facilities may I visit with my dog?
Bright & Beautiful teams work in all kinds of facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, senior centers, schools, libraries, colleges and universities, and at corporate events. Some teams make visits to individuals in group or private homes. After passing the testing requirements and becoming a member of B&B, some new members begin slowly with more traditional settings, such as nursing homes and senior homes. But after getting some experience "under your belt", the possibilities are limitless – we find new environments for therapy dogs every day.
What does a typical therapy dog visit entail?
Therapy dog visits may vary, depending on the reason for the visit, the nature of the facility, and the type of person being visited. In general, our therapy dogs give comfort and affection through petting and kisses (when invited) and they ease anxiety and bolster self-esteem. During library visits, children read to the dogs, reducing the stress of learning to read.
What is a “sponsored” B&BTD visit?
A sponsored visit is one that follows the B&BTD Guidelines and Health Requirements – both in terms of the facility or private home and the B&BTD member. The facility or private home requesting the visit must provide the appropriate supervision and support for the B&BTD team, and the B&BTD member is required to adhere to our processes and procedures for the visit.
Is my dog covered by insurance while visiting a facility or private home?
B&B provides insurance that protects our members, the facility/private home and B&BTD in the event of an injury to a person being visited by the B&BTD therapy dog team. You are covered by liability and accident insurance while volunteering during a B&B sponsored visit provided you follow our guidelines. Click here for our insurance information.
What kind of equipment is my dog permitted to wear for therapy dog visits?
Bright & Beautiful approves the following collars and harnesses: buckle collar, martingale collar, choker/slip collar and front clip training harness. Back clip harnesses may only be used with a signed letter from a veterinarian that explains the medical necessity; the letter must be submitted to B&BTD. Prong collars are a very special condition, based on the physical condition of either the dog or the handler. The prong collar must be covered by a bandana during a therapy dog visit. Flexi-leads®, adjustable leashes, E-Collars (electronic or shock collars), head halters, (Halti®, Gentle Leader®) are never acceptable for visitation or events.

The use of pet strollers for visitation is strongly discouraged. They are only permitted with medical clearance from the dog’s veterinarian and/or the handler’s medical doctor. Written permission will be granted only after B&BTD receives a picture of the stroller and documentation showing how the dog is affixed to the stroller.

What are my responsibilities as a B&BTD member when I visit a facility or private home?
All members must ensure that their B&BTD membership is current, their dog’s vaccines are up to date, and that they have a non-expired B&BTD ID badge. Prior to the visit, they should provide the facility or private home with a copy of their up to date B&BTD ID badge and the B&B Guidelines.

For the visit, the member must wear his/her current ID badge, keep his/her dog on a 4’ leash (or shorter) at all times, and ensure that the dog is clean, well-groomed and healthy. The dog should wear the B&BTD red bone shaped tag, their current rabies tag, and a local municipality dog license tag (if required). The member should also have a copy of the dog’s vaccine records with them. The B&B Guidelines and Health Requirements must be followed.

What does the facility need to provide when a therapy team comes to visit?
Before the visit, the facility should ensure they have a copy of The Bright & Beautiful Guidelines and Health Requirements on file, and review and understand them. They should obtain a copy of the Handler’s B&BTD ID badge and keep the badge on file, along with the dog’s vaccination records.

Some additional considerations include: The population that teams are visiting must be an appropriate and non-threatening audience for the therapy dog handler and dog. The facility environment must be safe and clean. The facility must provide an escort so that the therapy dog team is not left alone without supervision and knows whom to visit, where to go, and has a contact in case of emergency.

How does a facility request a visit?
The process for requesting a visit depends on the facility’s location. Within New Jersey, a facility can complete a request form to describe the nature of the visitation request. B&BTD sends out a weekly email blast to all NJ members to let them know about current opportunities. Any interested members can then reach out to the facility directly. Note that B&BTD does not make the actual placement, as our members select where and when they volunteer.

In other states, the facility should contact a B&BTD Evaluator in their vicinity and obtain the Evaluator’s assistance in finding therapy dog teams for visits.

Note that all facilities must follow Bright & Beautiful Guidelines to ensure a safe and effective therapy dog visit.

How can I request a visit for a relative in a private home?

The process for requesting a visit depends on the private home’s location. Within New Jersey, a family member can complete a request form to describe the nature of the visitation request. B&BTD sends out a weekly email blast to all NJ members to let them know about current opportunities. Any interested members can then reach out to the family member directly. Note that B&BTD does not make the actual placement, as our members select where and when they volunteer. A family member or other responsible adult must be physically present during the time that a therapy dog team is visiting someone in a private home.

In other states, the family member should contact a B&BTD Evaluator in their vicinity and obtain the Evaluator’s assistance in finding therapy dog teams for visits.

Note that all requests for home visits must follow Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dog Guidelines and Health Requirements to ensure a safe and effective therapy dog visit.

How can I get awards and titles for my therapy dog?
Once you and your dog start volunteering as a team, you may wish to strive for the goal of obtaining therapy dog awards. Through Bright & Beautiful, you can apply for our Trrrrfic Award. You can also apply to earn therapy dog titles through the American Kennel Club (AKC) There are 5 levels of titles, from Novice to Distinguished, based on the number of therapy dog visits. For more information, review our webpage on awards and titles.
What is the difference between a therapy dog, a service or assistance dog and an emotional support dog?
Therapy dog – A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection, comfort and support to people in a wide variety of facilities including: hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, schools, libraries, hospices and/or disaster areas. The dog and its handler make visits on behalf of someone else.

Service dog – a service or assistance dog is a dog specifically trained to aid or assist an individual with a disability. Many are trained by an assistance dog organization, or by their handler, often with the help of a professional trainer.

Emotional support dog – Emotional support animals (ESAs) refer to dogs and other pets that provide emotional support and comfort to their owners daily. ESAs legally must be prescribed by a licensed mental health professional like a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist.

Click here to see a chart that summarizes the differences.

Do I get any special privileges because I have a therapy dog?
No. Therapy dogs do not have access to any special privileges just because they are therapy dogs. Hence, there are no special travel arrangements or access to facilities that do not allow dogs (which permit service dogs). Therapy dogs only have access to a facility when they are volunteering with their handler at a facility.
Can I take my therapy dog to work with me?
Bright & Beautiful is founded on the premise that therapy dog work is a volunteer activity. As such, the insurance that B&B provides to all members in good standing is only valid if the handler is volunteering time for therapy dog visits. Members who take their dogs to work and use them as therapy dogs at their place of employment during working hours, such as teachers, therapists, doctors, or psychologists, are NOT covered by the B&BTD insurance policy. Volunteer visitation, covered by B&BTD guidelines at facilities as a sponsored B&BTD event, is permitted. However, dogs may not stay at school, offices, or facilities all day and expect insurance coverage while dormant. Bright & Beautiful therapy dogs should never stay all day at the workplace of the owner or handler.
My dog has had an injury or illness and we cannot make visits for a while. What should I do?
Please contact the B&BTD office. Your membership can be placed on hiatus until your dog is ready to return to therapy dog work. At that time, we require your veterinarian to submit a signed Health Certificate to verify that your dog’s injury or illness has been resolved and your dog can resume working.
I have had an injury or illness and we cannot make visits for a while. What should I do?
Please contact the B&BTD office. Your membership can be placed on hiatus until you are ready to return to therapy dog work.

The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc.

Info

The Bright & Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Inc. is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) all volunteer organization. We do not accept monetary compensation for our visitation. Testing fees and membership fees are donations and are tax deductible.

Contact Us

80 Powder Mill Road, Morris Plains, NJ 07950
Phone: (973)292-3316
Toll-Free (888) 738-5770
Fax: (973)292-9559
[email protected]

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