As founder and Executive Director of K9 Ambassadors, a California not-for-profit corporation, Richard Katz’s mission is to expand therapy dog services to a broader range of facilities and populations. His mission is to educate the community on the virtues of therapy dog certification. K9 Ambassadors created this unique course, earning all “Excellent” and “Very Good” evaluations from hundreds of students as well as many unsolicited testimonials. Richard obtained his undergraduate and graduate degrees from UCLA and University Minnesota, respectively, and proceeded to have a successful 35-year career in Human Resources, including senior corporate and management consulting positions. His entrepreneurial spirit created and produced a series of alumni employment conferences for the University of California, regularly scheduled broadcast TV programs called, Meet Your Next Employer, and unique job training programs to retrain thousands of laid-off workers and disadvantaged workers employed by the entertainment industry. Since 2014, Richard experienced firsthand the power of providing animal-assisted therapy at various facilities such as airports, courts, colleges, employer worksites, and rehab centers, including UCLA Health. Richard lives in La Quinta, California, with his therapy dog, Sam.
Welcome to K9 Ambassadors
Therapy dogs are pets, owned by you, the "handler." They are trained to provide service to a wide variety of facilities and people, including hotels, schools, courts, airports, worksites, natural and human-made disasters, to name a few.
In contrast, service dogs are trained to provide service to one person. Therefore, we focus on therapy dogs, although we also provide education and consultation on helping people select and find "assistance dogs'' where a disability (emotional or physical) is involved.
So, what makes your furry, four-legged household friend a potential therapy dog? Here are some of the most important criteria:
- Any breed can qualify, one year old or more, although certain breeds are restricted in hospitals and other facilities where breed stigma is an issue.
- The right temperament, void of any aggression.
- A love of people and a desire to be with strangers.
- A lack of interest in other dogs.
- Controlled behavior at all times.
- Knowledge of basic commands.
- You make a good team. The handler has good interpersonal skills to provide services to the community with time and compassion.
- The ability to pass behavioral and written evaluations.
Do you feel this might be of interest? I encourage you to explore our site, learn what it takes to register your pet as a therapy dog and sign up for one of our virtual community college classes. Please see our Teaching Schedule.
If you represent a private organization, I also encourage you to learn about our Commercial Therapy Dog Services that bring joy and comfort to employees and customers.
Richard Katz, Founder, K9Ambassadors.org and Chief Therapy Dog Handler
- How to Find and Select a Dog that Matches Your Needs
- How to Find, Train, and Certify a Qualified Animal-Assistance Dog
- Pet-Related Funding Opportunities
- Using Dogs to Detect COVID-19
- Dogs Don’t Like Passive or Unresponsive Human Faces
- Our Founding Therapy Dog, Rudy
- How Americans Memorialize Their Dogs
- Dog Breeds Usually Banned by Home Insurance Companies
- Is It Possible for a Dog to Actually Experience Jealousy?
- Can Remote Therapy Dog Sessions Reduce Stress?