Lend A Heart Lend A Hand Animal-Assisted Therapy

Reviewed by the Sacramento Region Community Foundation

$6,345 raised by 28 donors

100% complete

$5,000 Goal

Lend A Heart, Lend A Hand Animal-Assisted Therapy was founded in 1987 through the involvement and dedication of local dog club members. It provided the Sacramento area with animal-assisted teams to be used in therapeutic settings. Today, we continue to provide the benefits of animal-assisted therapy through ongoing programs in a wide range of facilities and settings. Assisted living facilities, libraries, and VA Medical Center make up the core of our programs and have been supported by Lend A Heart since its beginning. We have added adult programs and reading programs at schools. Within the last five years, we've branched out to include Sacramento International Airport (BARC), Sacramento County Courthouse (Family Relations), and de-stressing events at schools and colleges. In a given normal year (i.e. 2019, with 95 volunteers), we maintained agreements with 41 facilities for regularly monthly scheduled therapy visits, 66 mostly school de-stressing events, 199 BARC visits, and 53 Sacramento Courthouse visits. Our programs connect with people of all ages with the support of our volunteers and the unconditional love of our therapy pets.

Lend A Heart continues to move forward from COVID with more park role-plays (originally to re-socialize its pups after COVID). But the role-plays have become a component of orientation for potential new members with pups, kitties, or bunnies.  Starting in April, 2021, LAH has offered 15 Park role-plays in the region.  Since July, 2021, we have managed to once again make an impact at Sacramento International Airport (BARC) with currently 27 teams  - you will see us every Wednesday and two Fridays each month in Terminal B.  And, we are there two Sundays each month in Terminal A.  We are also working on increasing our regular facility monthly visits - currently at 7 Sr Living facilities, 3 libraries, and VA Hospital. Not to mention, that we have been very active at schools (elementary through college), UCD Med Center/Mind Institute, and many others. Interacting with our teams brings smiles, belly rubs & hugs to our pups, and conversation.  With 62 active teams over the last couple of years and more to come, Lend A Heart is bringing back its visits a few at a time!  In 2021, our volunteers completed a total of 975 hours. In 2022, our volunteers remain dedicated and have nearly doubled our total hours to 1802 hrs by participating in 267 visits/events for the year.  What about recruiting? As we have gained access to indoor facilities, LAH has held two evaluations in 2021 (9 teams), two evaluations in 2022 (8 teams), and January evaluation in 2023 (with 7 teams).  

Lend A Heart continues to to make a  significant comeback with 2346 total hours by volunteers for 2023 into 2024, 4 evaluations, and bringing back our Courthouse visits this spring. Things are definitely looking up!


Lend A Heart is an all-volunteer organization comprised of certified handler and animal teams, and associate volunteers, dedicated to provide compassion and understanding for our clients through animal-assisted therapy. Our values are to provide quality, commitment, integrity, and to celebrate diversity.


Operating Expenses...In order to maintain and expand our Lend A Heart programs, we must be able to cover our operational expenses of liability insurance for our teams (handler/pet), website, volunteer online calendar management system, storage for equipment, location for meetings/activities (currently Zoom) and mail correspondence to volunteers/clients/public.

Education...Hire a professional videographer to produce quality video supporting our therapy pet orientations, evaluations, and ongoing education. Lend A Heart needs to expand its recruitment of new teams (handler and pet) and education efforts to re-socialize current teams. It traditionally uses face-to-face demonstrations and handouts. LAH will continue with that format, but it recognizes its lack of video support and realizes the benefits of video support. It now strives to fill that void. These videos will be posted on our website and Facebook pages - available to public, potential teams, new teams, current teams, and clients.

Marketing...Help us to provide custom therapy dog business or trading cards to our clients of all ages. We provide our traditional business card to all teams to pass on to clients during program visits and events. However, our clients are drawn to custom therapy dog business or trading cards that some of our teams have created (at their own expense). These custom cards still include LAH information, but also include picture of pet with name, information about pet i.e. favorite food, favorite activity, therapy pet visit types. LAH would like to contribute to this expense and provide this option to all teams.

Replace dated or broken visit-related equipment as well as purchase additional equipment. With increased demand for outside events, we need additional mats for our teams and students/public.

Equity Statement

Quality — Treat everyone, the public, clients and colleagues, with respect, dignity and sensitivity while continually striving to improve our services to the community.

Commitment — Maintain a consistency of purpose to improve our members and our organization through training and teamwork.

Integrity — Demonstrate commitment, responsibility and honesty in all of our activities.

Celebrate Diversity & Inclusion — Respect, value and welcome diversity in our organization, as well as in the facilities and populations we serve.

Organization Data


Organization name

Lend A Heart Lend A Hand Animal-Assisted Therapy

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)


Mission Category

Human Services

Operating Budget


Organization Need

Volunteers, Funding: Program, Funding: Other

Demographics Served

Seniors, Youth & Children, General population

Local Counties Served

El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, Yolo

Equity Statement

Equity Statement


11230 Gold Express Dr Ste310 #284
Gold River, CA 95670

Service areas

Sacramento, CA, US

Placer, CA, US

El Dorado, CA, US

Yolo, CA, US

Sutter, CA, US



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