You are here




Original Adopted Date: 09-12-22                                          Last Revised Date:                                        

Last Reviewed Date: 7-10-23


The Role and Purpose of Certified Assistance Dog Teams in MPCSD

Professional School Therapy Dogs certified with their owners/handlers as Certified Assistance Dog Teams provide emotional and physical support in the educational setting.  These highly trained dogs model good behavior, tolerance, and acceptance. All Certified Assistance Dog Teams in the Mid-Prairie Community School District work to support and positively influence student achievement.

  1. Professional Therapy Dogs - definition

    1. Professional therapy dogs are dogs trained and tested to provide specific physical or therapeutic functions under the direction and control of a qualified handler who works with the dog as a team, and as a part of the handler’s occupation or profession.

      • A professional therapy dog has been temperament tested by a trainer affiliated with an organization recognized as qualified to do temperament testing.

    2. Professional therapy dogs have passed a Public Access Test administered by a trainer/evaluator recognized by Mid-Prairie Community School District for this purpose.

      • Professional therapy dogs are owned by a professional educator in the Mid-Prairie Community School District who wishes to use a professional therapy dog to augment his/her educational program.

    3. Professional Therapy Dogs may be used in the school setting on a regular basis when the following documentation is in place:

      • Administrative Approval

    4. Review of Professional School Therapy Dog Guidelines and Procedures:
      1)   Professional Therapy Dog guidelines and procedures will be reviewed annually with all staff and students at the start of the academic year.

      • Review of guidelines and procedures will take place as needed (determined by the administrator and dog owner/handler) throughout the year.

  2. Pet Visitation Dogs – definition

    1. A pet visitation dog is a dog owned by a volunteer or student who is NOT employed by the Mid-Prairie Community School District, but who has received registration and/or recognition for volunteer pet visitation.

      • These dogs are NOT considered to be Professional Therapy Dogs.

      • For a dog to be used on a volunteer basis, these guidelines must be followed:

    2. The following documents must be kept on file in the Superintendent’s office and the building(s) in which the pet visitation dog is used.

      • Current certification /registration from the therapy dog organization doing the evaluation and testing.

      • Current veterinary records of worming schedules and annual vaccinations for five-way Parvo and bordatella as well as rabies vaccinations every three years.

      • Proof of insurance

  3. The privilege to bring the dog into the school setting may be terminated should the handler or dog behave in a way deemed unprofessional or unsafe.

  4. When an educator uses a professional therapy dog according to the above guidelines, the educator will be covered by their private insurance policy (minimum $1 million liability coverage).

  1. Such dogs, with their handlers, perform such functions in institutional settings, community-based group settings, or when providing services to specific persons who have disabilities.

  2. Professional therapy dogs in the MPCSD are family pets that have been certified as pet therapy animals.(See section II, “Pet Visitation”)

  3. All costs are the responsibility of the owner and if the owner leaves the district, the dog will go with them.

  4. See attached Therapy Dog Handler Ethics.

  5. See attached documentation requirements (checklist of information) for Certified Assistance Dog Teams in the MPCSD.

  6. The use of the animal or animals must be approved by the administrator(s) of the building(s) in which the Professional Therapy Dog’s handler works.

    1. Health Records and Hygiene/Animal Care

  7. The owner/handler must provide a record of annual vaccinations received by the dog and signed by a veterinarian; these health records should be kept on file in the school building and in the Superintendent’s office.

    1. The dog should receive a bordatella vaccination annually; rabies vaccinations and five-way parvo/distemper (DHPP) shall be updated every three years. Please note: dogs less than one year of age or receiving their rabies and parvo vaccinations for the first time shall receive a follow-up vaccine in one year, with vaccinations every three years thereafter.

    2. The dog should be given a comprehensive wormer or fecal check for worms annually.

    3. The dog should be checked for external parasite control.

    4. All owners will give preventive parasite (fleas and ticks) control and heartworm medication year-round. Annual tests for heartworm are recommended.  Please note: Frontline Plus is recommended by the veterinarian – this is due to its non-toxic nature, which is important in a school environment.

    5. The dog should be groomed and bathed regularly. For dogs in a working environment, monthly to bi-monthly baths are recommended as is daily brushing. (Good judgment should be used based on the dog’s hair, skin, and dander concerns.)The owner/handler must also ensure proper health care through regular (several times weekly) brushing of the dog’s teeth, regular nail trimming as needed, and weekly cleaning/checks of the dog’s ears.

  8. A copy of the Public Access Test certificate of completion should be kept on file in the school building and in the Superintendent’s office.

    1. Records of advanced obedience, agility, or other training may be kept updated in the employee’s file. 

  9. The handler of the dog must be an employee of MPCSD, the dog and handler MUST be certified under the Professional Therapy Dog guidelines listed above.

All animals will be approved on a case-by-case basis.