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Donation Answers

Yes. We do have fiscal obligations, so contributions are appreciated to help offset our operating expenses.

Since we are a nonprofit organization donations to NCTD are usually tax-deductible; please consult your financial adviser for details.

Facility Answers

Unfortunately, we are only able to add a small number of facilities each year, primarily as other facilities are dropped. However, if you would like for your facility to be considered, please complete the NCTD Facility Application form on the Online Forms page, scan it, and e-mail it to the Director of Facilities as indicated on the form. You may also mail it to the address shown on the form.

The number of new facilities that NCTD can approve each year is limited and based on the mission of the facility, the vision of how therapy dog visits will benefit the facility, and volunteer availability. Many factors are examined as we review a potential facility and determine whether to add it to our list. The following is a summary of some of the considerations that are taken into account:

NCTD Team Availability:

  • Are there teams interested in visiting the facility?
  • Does the requested visiting schedule align with our volunteers’ availability?
  • Is the facility located in a convenient area for our volunteers?
  • Is the environment a safe place for the handlers and dogs to visit?
  • Is there adequate parking?
  • Can teams get in/out easily?
  • Is there an area for animals to relieve themselves?

Volunteer Requirements:

  • What prerequisites need to be met a volunteer can visit at the facility?
  • Will there be any out-of-pocket expenses for the volunteer?

Type of Population:

  • Is this a type of population that will benefit from Animal Assisted Activities or Animal Assisted Therapy?

Staff Supervision:

  • Are facility staff available to escort and be readily accessible when NCTD teams are visiting?


  • Is the facility reasonably clean?
  • Are there pills/food on the ground for dogs to pick up?


  • Can visits be scheduled at a time when teams can visit?

In general, we will conduct a preliminary over-the-phone survey and may follow up with an on-site survey. Depending on the outcome of these surveys, and after determining NCTD team availability, we may:

  • Begin visiting immediately
  • Visit for a "trial" period to see how well the visits go
  • Say "no" initially, but plan to follow up after some period of time. (This may happen if there are issues with the facility that could be resolved after some time or if a facility is suitable but no teams are available.)

Volunteer Answers 

To visit with NCTD, you and your animal must first train and be evaluated as a NCTD Volunteer Team. See how to Become a Pet Therapy Team.

NCTD provides numerous benefits, including:

  • We have already established relationships with facilities in the Baltimore-Washington area as well as Southern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula. These facilities know about National Capital Therapy Dogs and are comfortable having our animals visit their facilities.
  • We provide constant training via NCTD open floors. These classes are intended for both new teams as well as experienced teams. These events, in addition to allowing the animals to socialize, provide a great deal of information beyond the NCTD training. And most importantly, they're fun!
  • We visit some facilities as a group. This allows teams to meet and learn from each other. It also tends to provide better visits, since we can send the right team to visit the right people.
  • We have social events to get together just for fun. The handlers get to share stories, and the dogs get to play and sometimes get to go "wiener bobbing"!
  • We send out the NCTD newsletter, a volunteer roster, and other information to all volunteers on a periodic basis. This keeps volunteers informed of the latest NCTD information.
  • Student members of NCTD can receive community service hours for both training and visits they make as a volunteer with our organization.

Under NCTD rules, anyone 12 and over are eligible to take our classes and evaluation exams with an adult, (parent, guardian or someone with parent or guardian's written consent). Once they are 16, the Facility Coordinator where they volunteer can allow them to visit facilities independently or they can continue with an adult until they are 18. Some of our facilities, such as hospitals, have a minimum age for volunteering that we also must abide by.

Yes! The same procedures apply to become a NCTD Volunteer team. The only additional requirement is a note from the owner giving permission for you to work with the animal.

Yes! Other animals are welcomed in our organization. We have several places that they may be able to visit... nursing homes and assisted living facilities generally welcome them. Each hospital facility that we visit may have restrictions (e.g., for cats, front claws removed or indoor cat only). Please Contact Us for more information.

You can find the complete list of NCTD training classes, evaluations, and other events on the NCTD Calendar of Events

The minimum requirements for maintaining an active status in NCTD are:

  • Maintaining NCTD Volunteer registration (each team is reviewed annually and must renew registration every three years)
  • Attending at least one NCTD open floor or other approved training opportunity per calendar year
  • Assuming you visit an NCTD facility with your animal, consistently visiting the facility. (We visit most facilities 1-2 times per month.) A typical visit lasts about one hour, although time to get your partner ready, driving time, etc. add to the required time commitment.

Of course, if you have more time, we encourage you to:

  • Attend more open floors (we recommend attending as many as possible)
  • Visit additional facilities, as long as you can commit to consistently visiting the facilities;
  • Attend NCTD social events, such as the awards night and the annual picnic;
  • Assist with events, such as team evaluations, NCTD demonstrations, etc.
  • Become involved with the NCTD Board of Directors to help shape the future of NCTD

No. NCTD is 100% volunteer-based, we do not have any paid positions.

There are costs associated with being a volunteering member of NCTD. Most, if not all, of which can be tax deductible. Please talk to your financial advisor for more details. These costs help to cover the organization's operating expenses as well as the liability insurance that all of our animals carry when volunteering at an NCTD approved facility. Please see our Costs and Fees page for more details.

Additional costs that may be incurred are veterinary check ups & shots, additional team evaluations (if the team does not pass the first time), NCTD gear, and NCTD "uniform".

Financial Assistance may be available through NCTD's "Gandalf Fund". Individuals requesting assistance are to write a letter to the NCTD Board of Directors for review when submitting training/evaluation forms.

For handler: While there is no official NCTD "uniform", we request that you be dressed neatly but comfortably when you visit with your animal. Slacks or nice jeans with a nice shirt and comfortable shoes are recommended. NCTD also offers "NCTD gear" at cost as well as clothing with the NCTD logo through Lands End. Wearing NCTD shirts provides a quick means of identification, plus it gives the group a more professional appearance.

For pet: All dogs should wear a green harness or green NCTD vest.

Please note that in some cases, an individual facility may have their own specific dress requirements. Many require that we wear a shirt with the NCTD logo. Others may have general restrictions such as no jeans or shorts. So be sure to ask about it when applying to a facility.

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NCTD is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization

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