Divine Canines was formed in 2004 by a group of dog lovers who wanted to share the unconditional love of dogs with people in special needs facilities in Central Texas. We began with five dog-and-handler teams, one large client – the Austin State Hospital – and a professional dog trainer who generously donated his time.
We believe that every dog can be a source of healing and motivation. Our model is based on two principles:
- There exists a powerful bond between humans and their dogs.
- Dog enthusiasts are ideal volunteers — passionate, empathetic, responsible, and highly driven. Our volunteers care deeply about their community and want to share the gifts of joy and unconditional love their dogs so freely give.
Divine Canines trains and evaluates each dog and handler to ensure both are confident in all situations. American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen certification is a prerequisite for entering our therapy dog training. Divine Canines teams are evaluated yearly by an animal behaviorist, and must provide proof of current, age-appropriate immunizations and a veterinary examination. Teams choose volunteer sites based on their interests. This promotes frequent, predictable contact, which builds strong bonds and fosters healing relationships. Divine Canines provides liability insurance that covers our teams when on approved site visits.
We exist because a group of dog lovers and a special trainer knew we could make a difference in the lives of people often overlooked by society. Read the story of how we started.
Our work is not possible without the vision, guidance, and hard work of our leadership team. Meet our leadership.
Our Training Philosophy
Our philosophy is based on inclusion and positive reinforcement. Read more about Our Training Philosophy.