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1
I agree the AKC list is a good starting point. While it won't tell you things like Pet Partners is better than Therapy Dogs International, it does going a long way in sorting out the legitimate orgs from the fakes.

If you have a specific facility you want to visit, ask them what organizations they work with or require. It would be a shame to go through the process with an org they don't accept.
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Personally, OP, for the reasons others are mentioning I would use a national program like Pet Partners or TDI. They are large and have been around awhile and are experienced in this area. If you want to find local organizations that would be fine too although I would start my search with recommendations from something like the AKC or a national therapy dog outfit that can give you resources about anything local to you. Sort of like using ADI as a springboard to hunt down service dog programs. No guarantee, but much better than searching at random.

Good luck and therapy dogs are really cool.
3
I note that when you did a search on therapy dog certification you didn't find any legitimate organizations that do certification, only sites that don't actually know my h about which they speak like wellness and the ridiculous "therpydogcertification" site. Their article on service dogs vs therapy dogs was a laugh.

There's a lot of misinformation about therapy dogs in a general search on the subject. How do you find a legitimate organization? Simple. Legitimate therapy dog organizations insure their registered teams. If they offer certification but no insurance, they are a fraud.
4
Here a few websites that may be helpful for you and your dog in exploring options as a TD and the various types of TDs! It is becoming quite an industry! I find it very rewarding! There are many different opportunities in the program I'm affiliated and certified by. From reading about other programs in Zombie's link, I see that all are fairly similar!

http://www.tdi-dog.org/HowToJoin.aspx?Page=Testing+Requirements

https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/dog-training/training-therapy-dog/

http://www.therapydogcertification.com/

https://www.therapydogs.com/

http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/blog/index.php/friendly-pets/how-to-get-your-dog-certified-as-a-therapy-dog/#.VPbYH2d0yfg

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Training doesn't have to cost that much. It depends on the organization whether you have to take a course or can just test.  The cost of the test and registration also varies by organization. Could be as little as $50 to test and register for the first year. If registration does not include liability insurance it's not really worth the bother.

Some organizations require re-testing and others do not. Frequency of retreating varies.

They don't actually certify, but test and register. It's a liability thing.
6
Most places that allow TDs require a dog team be trained and certified by a regional or national TD organization. The training costs $200-$300 or so. Certification must be tested/renewed every 3 years. One must have specific level of liability insurance that is usually provided by the organization.

My SD is also a certified Therapy Dog and specifically trained in Alzheimers visits, and Reading Dog visits in public schools and Barnes and Noble. (mentally exhausting sites for the dogs) I have different commands and gear for him in both of his jobs. The organization I am with partners and contracts with specific locations in several states.
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I've had UTI prone cats. If you find a food that works and you can afford it, I suggest sticking with it. UTIs are no fun, especially in your cat. I did try several different foods and the only one I found I could count on not to mess them up was Hills. Forget the hype about corn. Some products claiming to be corn free are not, and in actuality corn only matters to a minority of animals. No kibble for cats is going to be a pure meat product and also be nutritionally complete, shelf stable, and safe for UTI cats. Regardless of what goes into the food, what matters is what the cat gets out of it. Too many frufru companies have focused on marketing the horrors of corn when they should have been doing feeding studies to see whether the nutrients poured in in manufacturing were actually biologically available. What matters at the end of the day is the consumer's health, or how the cat does on the food.

You can fix weight problems by feeding smaller meals more frequently and increasing exercise.
8
I'm not sure if this is the appropriate location for this. As I was feeding my 7 year old kitty I noticed that it looks like she's getting down to about two more weeks left of food in the kibble bin, so it's time for me to start deciding what to feed next because I will be out of town next week (my uncle is going to watch her for me). I adopted her from a local shelter at the end of January, and they gave me the bin full of food. The food is Hill's prescription diet that's supposed to prevent UTI (which she has a history of). When I took her to a vet for a post adoption check up and rabies vac update, he said that that food is good, and he feeds his cats it, but that I could also do this other brand's prescription diet. I'm always uncertain about accepting anyone's advice about a product they will sell to me. I appreciated taking my poodle to a holistic vet back home in CA because while they sold food (it was actually frozen meat/veggie packages) they didn't try to sell it to me. They gave me a list of foods they recommended which included the stuff they sold and many other choices. I was not really into the whole holistic pet scene; that vet was just super nice and donated time to see dogs for the rescue org my parents volunteer/foster with.

Both prescription cat foods have a ton of corn in them. I do not like feeding carnivores corn. My cat is extremely overweight for her height/length, and even the vet admitted it is probably the carbs in the prescription food. She appears to have lost some weight since I have been restricting her food (the shelter kept her in someone's office, and they kept an enormous bowl of food filled for her all the time).

I would rather feed her a higher quality (read: corn- and by product- free) kibble (they told me she refuses wet food, so I haven't even tried that). What's the deal with prescription diets? I did some searching and could find no evidence that people have done empirical research supporting these diets as definitely better for animals (although sadly my university doesn't have access to veterinary databases, as there are no animal programs here, so that doesn't mean these don't exist). I also have found no indication that the food has anything about it that makes it a real prescription (the way that, say, my zomig is a real prescription).

So my question is: what should I do? Is there an "OTC" UT-friendly cat food out there? Should I stick with the prescription diet? She is not allowed to eat more than 1/2 cup of food a day (vet's orders, because she is a chubby girl), so I don't really mind if something is expensive because even a small bag will last for a long time. I just want to feed her the best food for her.
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Health & Maintenance (publicly viewable board) / Re: Tips for those raw paws?
« Last post by eodog on Yesterday at 09:25:09 PM »
The salt routine I did for my poodle when I had him here with me in PA was this: booties if there was snow on ground (otherwise ice balls would form on his foot hair and he'd cry because they hurt so bad), when we got home, I'd wipe off his feet with unscented baby wipes (I'd do in between the pads/toes if he hadn't been wearing his booties), then once a day if he walked anywhere with salt (when the only time left for the day that we'd be going outside was for him to go around the block for his pre-bedtime potty) musher's secret. There are other products similar to musher's secret out there, too. His pads never seemed to soften, but then he only got musher's secret on him after the salt. The main thing I did was to wipe his paws off, or sometimes wash them in the sink (which he hated tee hee), to make sure there wasn't salt on his paws when he licked them.

As for the booties, these were just to keep the snow from creating ice balls. They get wet so the salt could probably just soak through. He learned to wear them by working up to it. I started in the house in CA, before the semester started and we went to school in PA. I'd put them on his feet for like a minute, praise him, then take them off. Then longer and longer times. Then I started making him walk in them across the living room (at first he would just lay there and look at me like I was the worst dog momma ever). Eventually he got mostly used to them. He still always got upset when they first got on, but I think eventually he figured out that without them, the snow would hurt his feet. At the end of last winter if a bootie fell off, he'd stop walking, hold his foot up, and stare at me with this grumpy look on his face until I put the bootie back on. I used the cheapest booties I could find, not the rubberized kind, because they seemed more comfortable and I would be upset if one got lost in a huge snowdrift and I had to go off and spend $40 for another full set. The cheap ones you get from dog sled equipment people, and you can usually choose a specific quantity (so you could just get one if you needed to replace a lost one).
10
These dogs are called therapy dogs. Join either a local therapy dog organization or a national one like Pet Partners or Therapy Dog International. Here is a list I found for you:

http://www.akc.org/events/title-recognition-program/therapy/organizations/
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