Fort Lauderdale, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/12/2010 -- Canine Assisted Therapy, (C.A.T.), is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in August of 2009 to address the need of companionship for those in schools, nursing homes, hospice, assisted living, and hospitals. Since the inception of the organization detailed background checks have been performed on all C.A.T. volunteers; no other dog certification organizations in Broward and Palm Beach counties have been so diligent.
After August 1st these other organizations and the organizations that invite volunteers into their facilities, may lose their licensure because the new law requires that people who care for children, the elderly, and disabled in Florida undergo stricter background screening requirements.
The law which passed unanimously by the Legislature this past session was signed by Gov. Charlie Crist at the end of May. It applies to employees and volunteers at day care centers, assisted living facilities, home health care agencies, and others working with children and vulnerable adults.
Recognizing that Canine Assisted Therapy is compliant with the new law ensures that the most vulnerable residents are protected. Canine Assisted Therapy encourages volunteers to continue making a difference in the lives of children, elderly, and the challenged members of our community. The organization’s founders also want to make sure these facilities are following the letter of new law in bringing these wonderful dogs (and their owners) into their buildings and property.
Debra M. Berger is the Executive Director of C.A.T. recently noted, “We are thrilled to have many new volunteers because other therapy organizations are unable or unwilling to comply with the new law. We are also receiving many requests from facilities requesting our services because we are the only pet therapy organization that will be able to visit patients unaccompanied by a staff member.”
Facilities C.A.T. currently serves:
Ann Storck Center - Fort Lauderdale
Avante at Boca Raton – Boca Raton
Bennett Elementary School - Fort Lauderdale
Bethesda Memorial Hospital – Boynton Beach
Boulevard Rehabilitation Center – Boynton Beach
Chatworth at PGA – Palm Beach Gardens
Children’s Diagnostic and Children’s Center – Fort Lauderdale
Chris Evert Children’s Center – Fort Lauderdale
Coral Ridge Elementary – Lake Worth
Cypress Run Education Center – Pompano Beach
Gilda’s Club of South Florida – Fort Lauderdale
Hollywood Hills Rehabilitation Center - Hollywood
Homewood at Freedom Pointe at the Village – The Villages
Hospice by the Sea – Boca Raton
Independence Hall – Fort Lauderdale
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida - Davie
Manor Care Health Services – Plantation
Meadowlark Inn Assisted Living – Royal Palm Beach
Medicana Nursing and Rehab – Lake Worth
Memorial Regional Hospital South - Hollywood
Pompano Rehab & Nursing – Pompano Beach
Springtree Rehabilitation and Health - Sunrise
ThereaPeeds, Inc. - Davie
United Cerebral Palsy – Fort Lauderdale
Williamsburg Landing – Fort Lauderdale
Willow Brooke Court at St. Andrews – Boca Raton
Due to this new legislation, C.A.T. is adding additional Broward and Palm Beach facilities each week.
C.A.T. (www.catdogs.org) headquartered in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, provides certification and placement of therapy dogs and their handlers into nursing homes, hospitals, group homes, schools and where there is a need for the companionship of a dog. C.A.T. has a Pack Reader Program to assist grade school children to improve their reading skills by reading to dogs. C.A.T. has also recently launched the Teen Corp Program in Oxford, Florida where teens work with their dogs to train and prepare them for therapy work. C.A.T.’s certification is valid and recognized throughout the United States.
Canine Assisted Therapy was founded with the sole mission to provide a network of qualified, dependable, caring Therapy Teams committed to delivering a therapeutic benefit through the use of dogs to both children and adults who need comfort, companionship, or the unconditional love that only a dog can provide. C.A.T. is distinguishable from other pet therapy organizations because of the extensive testing of the dogs to insure proper temperament for therapy work, placement of volunteers in facilities, and overall support of volunteers.
Canine Assisted Therapy