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 Therapy Animal Program, registered therapy animal teams visit individuals in residential care facilities, hospice, schools, libraries, rehabilitation facilities and more.

  The IHABS offers therapy dog training classes to prepare teams for volunteering in a variety of settings.  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)! Through our partnerships, licensing, and insurance, we are able to register therapy animals in order to 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 Registration Process:

The following are the REQUIRED steps to register/join our program:

1. Complete Orientation & Therapy Dog Class

2. Complete a Veterinarian Wellness Exam

2. Take and Pass the Control Evaluation

3. Complete 7 hours of Supervised Visits (accompanied by a Supervising Team or approved supervisor)

4. Visit Evaluation and Meeting: Completed once the 7 hours of visits are completed and signed

5. Membership Application, proof of insurance, and membership fee


Meet the Supervising Teams

To assist in registering & preparing new teams, IHABS utilizes wonderfully experienced members that earn the title of Supervising Team. These teams have been active for at least one year, have completed multiple classes, seminars, and workshops, and have earned CEUs and certifications focused on areas of specialty including hospice, memory care, reading assistance, grief support, and skilled care. These teams supervise visits and support prospective teams in-training and registered teams as they continue within the program.


Team Hope (owner/handler Marni)

Breed: Schipperke


Team Buddy (owner/handler Melissa)

Breed: Golden Retriever


Team Gladys (owner/handler Hayl)

Breed: Irish Wolfhound


Team Blitzen (owner/handler Liz)

Breed: Australian Shepherd

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