Welcome to The Companion Animal Program of Cape Cod (CAP)! CAP is a recognized leader in the field of pet therapy work and has been serving Cape Cod for more than 35 years. Over 100 qualified handlers and their wonderful dogs visit hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools, libraries, and other community programs from Bourne to Provincetown. CAP dogs are owned by individual members, and with their handlers become qualified to work in the program after successfully completing training, evaluation and orientation. A listing of adult programs that we visit can be found on our Members page on this website.
CAP’s Children’s Program is always busy touching the lives of many children on Cape Cod. The program includes “Tales to Tails,” visits in which children and youth read to our non-judgmental dogs. As qualified teams become experienced visiting adult programs, handlers may apply to be members of the Children’s Program. We visit students from elementary school to high school and beyond. During exam periods, CAP teams love to visit college students where our dogs provide stress relief. The children we visit range in age from three to 23. CAP’s Children’s Program teams are always uplifted by the energy and enthusiasm that children bring to every visit. Learn more about CAP’s Children’s Program on our Children’s Programs page on this website.
If you are interested in learning more about our training requirements, please go to the Training page to complete an application online. Spring training classes are coming to a close and classes will be suspended for the summer. Classes will resume in the fall. Check our Training page for information as it becomes available.
All CAP handlers and their dogs are trained and evaluated to be certified as CAP Therapy dogs, not as Service or Emotional Support dogs.
The Companion Animal Program is an all-volunteer, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3), charitable corporation. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life for Cape Cod residents and those of surrounding communities through the provision of pet therapy. Although originally organized to serve older residents and those with disabilities, CAP has expanded its mission to include visits with children and youth in libraries, schools, colleges, and other community settings. CAP continues to work with those who live or participate in out-of-home, day, residential, and hospital programs. We provide enjoyment and therapeutic support with our trained and certified companion animals and their handlers, visiting pre-approved sites. See our list of sites that we visit on the Members page. Pets and their owners become Therapy Teams following rigorous training and evaluation that meet safety standards of behavior and excellence in the field of pet therapy. CAP dogs are not service dogs. They are certified Therapy Dogs, belonging to our members, who share their love and provide comfort and joy to those we visit.
BENEFITS OF ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY
The positive effects of animal assisted therapeutic activities have been well-documented and include improved physical and emotional health. Therapeutic and life enhancing rewards result when volunteer Therapy Teams interact with those in institutional and other out-of-home settings. Interaction with therapy animals encourages communication, reduces feelings of isolation and stress, and improves overall quality of life in ways that, perhaps only an animal can accomplish.
Before pets are welcomed into our formalized program, they must demonstrate physical health and acceptable standards of behavior to ensure client safety. If the animal’s temperament and well-being are suited to the work, owners are specifically trained as handlers to work in therapeutic settings. After successfully completing training, evaluation, and orientation, pets and their owners become certified CAP Therapy Teams. CAP Teams are re-evaluated at least every two years to guarantee the highest level of care. Experienced volunteers supervise every visit, and each facility is screened for compatibility.
CAP relies completely on membership and charitable donations. Please help us to provide over 5,000 therapeutic visits each year by making a tax-deductible donation. Membership renewal for 2023-2024 year is due August 1st! Go to the Join page to complete your membership or renewal application online.
Or make checks payable to Companion Animal Program and mail to:
COMPANION ANIMAL PROGRAM, Inc. c/o Treasurer
P.O. Box 453
Chatham MA 02633