ADM-9 Therapy Dogs in College of Human Medicine Facilities

Effective Date: 5/1/2018
Last Revised: 1/1/2017
Responsible Party: CHM Director of Operations
Persons Affected: All Students, Faculty, Staff and Visitors in MSU-CHM Buildings


The College of Human Medicine recognizes the potential value of therapy dogs to our students, faculty and staff and understands that therapy dogs may be beneficial in some areas of an educational facility. At the same time, problems or issues that may potentially arise when dogs are brought into buildings must also be acknowledged. The owner or handler of the therapy dog shall ensure that the therapy dog does not pose a health or safety risk to any student, employee or visitor and that the therapy dog is brought into a building only when properly groomed, bathed and free of illness or injury. Further, the owner/handler shall maintain control of the therapy dog at all times and may not tether the therapy dog to any object. The handler/owner shall be solely responsible for the supervision and appropriate care of the therapy dog including feeding, exercising, and cleaning up after the therapy dog. This policy provides guidelines, expectations and procedures for those who request to bring a therapy dog into an MSU-CHM building. Note that this policy refers specifically to therapy dogs only and not to service dogs.


2.1 Therapy dogs: that have undergone specific training with their owners and go with their owners to volunteer in settings such as schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Therapy dogs and their owners work together as a team to improve the lives of other people, for example, by providing comfort and support (American Kennel Club definition). Therapy dogs are not service dogs and they and their owners do not have the same rights and privileges as service dogs granted under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

2.2 Service dog: a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual, or other mental disability. Service dogs are guaranteed special access privileges through the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


A. Request to bring a therapy dog into a CHM building
3.1 Submit the request form to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at least one week in advance of the first day the requestor wants to bring the therapy dog into the facility.

3.2 Include all of the following information:
a. Documentation of the training that the therapy dog has received, the date of training, and the name of the organization or individual who conducted the training.

b. Documentation dated within the past 90 days from a licensed veterinarian that the dog is in good health and has been vaccinated against diseases common to dogs and as required by local jurisdiction.

c. Schedule for the next 30 days of when the therapy dog would be at the CHM facility including days of the week, hours of the day and room locations requested. Note that certain areas of each building may be restricted from the therapy dog’s presence.

d. Plan for providing biological breaks for the therapy dog and a plan for handling the disposal of waste.

e. Plan for immediate removal of the therapy dog from the facility should an incident occur.

f. Proof of a homeowners/renters insurance policy indicating liability insurance which will cover personal injury or other harm caused by the therapy dog. The Director of Operations, Operations Manager or Facility Coordinator will maintain a copy of this policy for the duration of time the therapy dog is approved to be in the CHM facility.

B. Evaluation of Request

3.3 The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will confer with the Director of Operations to evaluate the request for completeness, clarity and appropriateness. Specific consideration will be given as to whether the presence of the therapy dog at the time and place requested would impose any unreasonable risk to others or interfere with the operations of the building. Note that therapy dogs may not be given access to certain restricted areas (e.g., labs including anatomy and research labs, animal care facilities, etc).

3.4 If the request is approved, the Director of Operations, Operations Manager or Facility Coordinator will create and distribute a memorandum to the building’s employees notifying them that an approved therapy dog will be present The Associate Dean for Student Affairs will forward the memorandum to all students in the building.

3.5 Approval, if requested for more than one visit, will be considered and granted for one month only. If the owner/handler desires to continue to bring the therapy dog for visits, he/she will provide a schedule to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs for the next month by the 25th of the preceding month.

C. Visit Protocol

3.6 At each visit, the therapy dog owner/handler will report to the Security Desk to sign in the therapy dog and will sign out when the therapy dog leaves the building.

3.7 If at any time during a visit the therapy dog presents any safety risk or is disruptive of normal operations and the owner/handler cannot quickly resolve the concern, a responsible administrator (eg, Director of Operations, Facility Coordinator, Security Director/Manager, Associate Dean, etc) may direct the owner/handler to immediately remove the therapy dog from the premises.

3.8 Should any student or employee report that he/she suffers dog allergies or aversions, the owner/handler shall remove the dog from the office, room, classroom or hallway to an alternate locations as directed.

D. Complaints or Concerns

3.9 Individuals who have complaints or concerns about the therapy dog should first address them to the owner/handler. If they cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of the individual voicing the concern, the individual should report them to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the Director of Operations, Operations Manager or Facility Coordinator

3.10 Complaints and concerns, as well as the owner/handler’s response, will be taken into consideration before future approval is granted.

E. Requests to bring a therapy dog into a CHM building other than for students

3.11 A request to bring a therapy dog into a CHM facility that does not involve students will follow similar procedures for approval except that the request is submitted to the Director of Operations rather than to the Associate Dean.


Download request form


1.0 Effective date: 3/01/2018 - Original (policy in informal format has existed since 2014)