How does one become a therapy dog? My Gossy has a great temperment and gets along with people really well. This sounds like something we could do together.
Start calling around to your local hospitals and nursing homes and ask if they have a pet therapy program and what it involves. (You might have to explain what you mean to get a good answer. lol) Some places require certification through a therapy dog company, others do not. They might just want to meet and evaluate the dog or have their own assessment test of some kind.
There are several therapy organizations, the most common is TDI. http://www.tdi-dog.org/ If you look at the links on the left, there is one for "upcoming tests" and that will give you an idea of where you can get them certified. There are no preliminary requirements for doing the test, but most dog training clubs offer some kind of therapy dog/CGC prep classes or just a general obedience class can help. TDI uses the AKC canine good citizen test plus 4 extra testing criteria. (having to pass by food without eating, being around kids and hospital equipment, etc.) Once you feel your dog has the social skills and obedience training to take the test, you can contact the test sites and sign up. They usually run around $20 to take the test. Once you pass, to become certified you have to have a thorough vet check with testing and proof of vaccinations, and also sign something that's like a code of ethics.
The big thing about being certified is that then TDI provides insurance for wherever you visit in case something were to ever happen when you're doing your visits. However there is a big list of rules you must follow to be in compliance with the insurance, like only using specific collars (no chokers) and not using your certification to get your dog into places, etc. (therapy dogs are NOT service dogs) A facility that does not require certification from TDI or the like will probably have their own testing procedure and rules because I'm sure they'll have to have insurance coverage too. So TDI would be a great thing to do, but contact your local facilities first because you may not have to go that route.
All my kids are TDI therapy dogs, it's a lot of fun. I used to visit a local hospital, but since I moved I haven't had time to figure out where to go around here and set something up. So we need to redo our certification, ugh. It's hard for them to pass the separation from mommy part. lol
I never took pictures because I didn't think it was appropriate where we were, and with it not being the same people like at a nursing home. But Susan has some other nice ones on her website that she's shared over the years. http://www.apubasenjis.com/TherapyBasenjis.html