Iowa Human-Animal Bond Society's

Therapy Animal Program



  The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that positively influences the health and well-being of an individual.


Through our partnerships, licensing, and insurance, we provide well-prepared and exceptionally qualified teams for animal assisted interventions throughout Iowa.  We are full members of Animal Assisted Intervention International (the only organization in Iowa with this designation) and adhere to their standards as well as have established our own policies and procedures. Our program has been created through our combined years of experience, countless hours of active therapy animal training and volunteering, continuous and rigorous education and research, and a strong commitment to professionalization of animal assisted intervention services.

The IHABS Therapy Animal Program includes two educational tracks:

1. A professional certification program

2. A volunteer-based registration program

Both the professional certification program and the volunteer-based program have prerequisites for the team, handler and animal, to meet all requirements to earn either a certification or a registration.

New for FALL 2021

AAI for Professionals Certification Program:

AAI for Professionals is a certification program focused on advancing the field of animal assisted interventions within the state of Iowa.


To qualify for acceptance into this program individuals should work within a professional capacity that enables the practice of animal assisted therapy and/or animal assisted education. This may include individuals employed as mental health professionals, physical therapists, occupational therapists, clinical social workers, board certified behavior analysts, behavior technicians, speech and language pathologists, nurse practitioners, school principals, crisis intervention specialists, etc.

All interested teams will be required to submit an application for acceptance into the program.

More information to come!

You can email to be added to our a mailing list with updates on this program and to begin pre-registration.

AAA for Volunteers

  IHABS offers therapy dog training classes to prepare teams specifically for volunteering in a variety of settings with the area of Animal Assisted Activities (AAA). Through our AAA for Volunteers program, registered therapy animal teams visit individuals in long term care communities, residential care facilities, hospice, schools, libraries, rehabilitation facilities and more.

To become a volunteer registered therapy animal team you must:

1. Complete all 7 weeks of Therapy Dog Level 1 class

2. Complete a Veterinary Wellness Exam

3. Take and Pass the Control Evaluation

4. Complete 5 hours of Supervised Visits (accompanied by a Supervising Team or approved supervisor)


- handlers should have a foundational understanding of positive reinforcement and clicker training

- dogs should have on cue basic behaviors including sit, down, and stay and should be able to walk on a loose leash

- dogs should be comfortable around and enjoy being near other dogs in a training environment

We also provide assessments, evaluations, and registration of non-canine species including cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, mini horses, and birds (we are always looking to add non-canine species to our program). Email for more information.

Ready to get started? Start by registering for the next session of Therapy Dog Class (Level 1) and attend the required orientation. In orientation we will discuss the process, answer questions, and provide access to the application materials. Click the icon below to sign-up for the next session of classes.


Clients and Partnerships

Below is a list of a few of our client & training locations, locations of active therapy dog teams (AAT/AAA/AAE), and partners. We are always looking to expand our reach and, our volunteers are always looking for more opportunities to provide AAI. Contact us if you would like our teams to visit your location, to offer classes or support groups with us, or work directly with a student, resident, patient, or client. We also can provide informational presentations, seminars, & wellness events.

WesleyLife Communities:

Edgewater, Wesley Acres, & Brio of Johnston

      --current class locations: Wesley Acres, Brio of Johnston, The Village (Indianola)

WesleyLife Hospice

Ramsey Village

West Des Moines Public Library  (Tails with Tales, Sensory Spaces)


Johnston Public Library  (Paws to Read)

Urbandale Public Library (Sensory Spaces)

Franklin Ave Library

Des Moines Public Schools

Hamilton's Funeral Home & Academy of Grief and Loss

Iowa Chapter of the American Parkinson Disease Association

Drake University Law School- SLADF

Drake University- Cowles Library

State Center Specialty Care- Care Initiatives

Mercy College of Health Sciences

Please Pass the Love

NAMI of Central Iowa

Alzheimer's Association

St. Augustin school

Bondurant High School