The Companion Animal Program (CAP) was founded in Orleans, MA in 1986 by a small group of pet owners. They wanted to visit a friend who was in a rehabilitation unit at what is now The Terraces of Orleans. Since their friend was a dog lover, they asked if they could bring their dogs to visit her. When permission was granted, not only was their friend receptive, but the other patients were as well. So many of the patients enjoyed the dogs’ visits that the group of friends and their dogs visited most of the rooms each time they came to The Terraces. From this humble start, a pet-visiting program was initiated to serve nursing facilities, day programs and schools serving those with disabilities on Cape Cod.
The growth of CAP from that informal group to the present-day organization has been phenomenal. CAP is now an organized, non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), charitable corporation, serving the entire Cape Cod area. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors with its own bylaws. CAP has continued to thrive with over 100 current Therapy Teams visiting more than 55 sites including: schools, libraries, a community college, skilled care facilities, hospitals, and day and residential programs for those with disabilities.
The effectiveness of our program is widely recognized as therapeutic and life enhancing for those we visit. The membership has steadily increased over the years, but remains a group of dedicated volunteers known as CAP Therapy Teams. CAP offers training for pets and their owners to become certified CAP Therapy Teams and as a result the benefits to those we visit are enhanced.
The Companion Animal Program is indebted to the founders of the CAP program, Nancy Porter, Prue Terkerian, Jean Warren, Helen Elliot and Jo Hammond, who took an idea, implemented it, and prepared the foundation for the success of the program as it is today. As a result of their dedication and tireless efforts, CAP has evolved into an organization that is respected for its quality in the field of pet therapy.
CAP acknowledges all its members whose hard work, thoughts, and ideas have contributed to the development and refinement of the Companion Animal Program. Nothing is more important to our Therapy Teams than a continued commitment to CAP’s mission and a focus on improving the well-being of those we serve.