Join the PAWS Team

Volunteer therapy dog and young patient
Volunteer therapy dog interacts with patient in children's hospital

Requirements for Applicants

Are you interested in applying to become a volunteer in the Therapy Animal Program? See our requirements below.


Therapy Animal Evaluation

If you have a dog at least 12 months of age and would like to know if they are a candidate for therapy work, take the self-test below to determine if you are both ready to move forward.

  1. Is your dog well socialized?
  2. Is your dog relatively calm when he/she meets people?
  3. Does your dog maintain his/her composure when approached with shopping carts, roller blades, or skateboards, or riding the elevator?
  4. Can you control your dog when he/she is faced with the unexpected?
  5. Does your dog remain calm at the vet or groomer?
  6. Have you and your dog had any formal training?
  7. Is your dog in good health?
  8. Does your dog accept treats gently?
  9. Does your dog react in a friendly manner (wagging tail) when he/she sees another dog?
  10. Does your dog like children? 

If you were able to answer “yes” to all these questions then perhaps you and your dog are ready to get started. See below for the next steps.


Contact Therapy Animal Certification Organizations

MUSC currently accepts certified/registered therapy dogs from the following national therapy dog organizations:

A dog must be registered by one of these organizations to be eligible to participate in the MUSC Therapy Animal Program. For additional information about testing and registration, please contact those organizations listed.


Get Started

To get started with our volunteer onboarding process for our Therapy Animal Program, watch our intro video and then fill out our application.

If you have any questions, please contact Cathy Bennett, Therapy Animal Program Coordinator, at 843-792-7360 or