Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. (Oakland Park, FL)


  • Name:Courtney Trzcinski
  • Title:Director of Program Support

Organization Address

  • Organization Name:Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.
  • Address:1040 NE 45th ST
    Oakland Park, FL 33334
    United States

Organization Phone

  • Main phone:954-990-5175

Organization Web

User Email


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  • Mission:
  • Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc.’s ("C.A.T.") mission is to provide pet therapy to children and adults who have developmental and physical challenges as well as those who desire comfort and companionship of a loving pet. C.A.T. improves people's lives physically, mentally and emotionally.

    C.A.T.’s vision is to educate and teach people how therapeutic animals can change a person’s life. Whether a person is developmentally challenged, physically challenged, lonely or simply loves the companionship of a pet, our certified C.A.T. dogs can make a life changing difference.

  • Overview:
  • C.A.T. provides support, training, education, and mentoring to those interested in volunteer dog therapy programs and builds connections between volunteers and facilities. C.A.T. has received national and international inquiries on how to establish a similar program. C.A.T. currently has over 128,000 followers on Facebook from around the world.

    The organization is unique and different than other pet therapy organizations in that it requires Level 2 background checks for the handlers, provides a mentoring program to new volunteer teams, offers pet therapy preparation classes and mandates an additional advanced evaluation to work with children.

    C.A.T. has provided pet therapy programs and formed partnerships with organizations such as Ronald McDonald Houses; KIDS in Distress; SafePlace; ARC of Broward; Children’s Diagnostic and Treatment Center; Henderson Behavioral Health; Sylvester Cancer Center; Holy Cross Hospital; Chris Evert Children’s Hospital; Equine Assisted Therapies of South Florida; Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital; Florida Atlantic University; 17th Judicial District; Nova Southeastern University, TrustBridge Health; school districts; veteran facilities and rehabilitation centers just to name a few.

    Canine Assisted Therapy has 8 board members and 3 full-time paid staff and one full-time volunteer (Co-founder and Board Chair). There are 130 part-time volunteers who visit facilities with their certified therapy dogs at least once a week.

    The following is a brief overview of C.A.T. programs:

    • Performing Canine Magic
    Teams work with veterans, and other adults with psychiatric disorders like post-traumatic stress, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and children and adults in grief counseling.
    Teams assist physical, occupational and speech therapists when working with
    individuals on the autism spectrum, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, and other
    physical rehabilitation issues.
    Teams help children traumatized by an event and calms them for testimony in a courtroom or other similar setting. The teams working in this capacity need very specialized training.

    • Pack Reader Program:
    Helps students achieve grade level reading including those learning English as a
    second language or children with self-esteem issues. The reading-challenged children in the program often view reading as a chore. But dogs don't judge, so reading to them removes inhibitions and helps a child focus. It makes reading fun and creates a positive, memorable experience that stays with children for a long

    • Animal Assisted Activities
    Involves trained therapy animals in various environments like schools, hospitals and
    nursing homes to enable the residents to interact with animals in a safe, supervised and therapeutic environment.

    C.A.T. teams (defined as a handler and their dog) work with children in grief camps, pediatric hospital patients, youth in dependency court, children with special needs, children struggling with their literacy skills, veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, dementia patients and youth who are in emergency foster facilities.

  • History:
  • In 2009, Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. started with two (2) founding dogs and two (2) handlers. Co-founders, Debra Berger and Joanne Jurgle, joined forces when they saw an unmet need in our community to provide safe, effective and efficient pet therapy for animals and humans. They began with a simple idea that started at Debra’s dining room table where they developed proper certification and standards for volunteer management and programming.

    C.A.T. has come a long way since operating at a dining room table. The Co-founders, then progressed to a 750 square foot office space with limited dedicated training space and today C.A.T. has evolved into a 2000 square foot office space with 80% dedicated to pet therapy training and education.

    One of the early challenges was that pet therapy was not commonplace like it is
    now and people weren’t familiar with the concept. They knocked on doors and
    continued to be turned away. Their persistence and education has led to a
    premier “best in class” reputation and now people knock on C.A.T.'s door essentially
    “begging” for our services.

    Canine Assisted Therapy, Inc. currently has 130 certified pet therapy teams providing services to over 100 facilities in eleven counties in Florida.

  • Year established:2009
  • Endowment:Unknown


  • Executive / Trustee board size:8
  • Advisory board size:5
  • Staff size:3


  • Organization type:Grantseeker
  • Country of registration:United States
  • Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
  • IRS Section:501(c)(3)
  • IRS Subsection:509(a)(1)
  • Tax ID: