Operation Therapy - Mission Statement

We are a charity of experienced animal trainers at pet, therapy and service levels. Our goal is to provide therapy services for the entire community with safe, healthy and fully trained animals. In order to provide these services, it is essential to spend thousands of hours caring and training these animals. Our new PTSD Service Dog Training Program is pioneering training techniques without kennels in pursuit of our goal of 500 dogs trained per year for veterans.

Over the years we have realized the lack of information available for the proper care and training of service animals available.  There is conflicting advice on the internet about both care and training. Much of it is harmful to the animals or ineffective forms of training. For this reason our foundation has to be constant evaluation of these various techniques and development of a set of “best practices” for care and training of therapy animals. There is an urgent need for this in the therapy miniature horse world where much of the advice on feeding and care is based on a scaled down version of large horse practices but prove to be dangerously unhealthy for miniature horse owners.

We also realize that raising service and therapy animals is extremely expensive. Improper feeding can lead to thousands of dollars in extra veterinary care annually while simultaneously shortening an animals lifespan. Animals expected to live outside in colder climates need special care if they are also expected to work inside where it is warm. There are hundreds of considerations to address and all mistakes are expensive, often in the thousands of dollars. For this reason we share all of our experience and results with anyone who wants learn.  We do this at no cost. 

Besides our in-house training we also work with other members of the local community to train their animals to become certified trainers. When training is complete we organize volunteer work for the animals and handlers to visit children, veterans and the elderly.   We also work with local schools and extended education programs to teach proper care and training for therapy animals. We focus on mostly miniature horses and dogs for these programs.  Some of the star students can become handlers for our animals and assist or even lead therapy visits.

Justin Hartley
Operation Therapy


Chapters of Operation Therapy are extremely community-based. It starts with the training program in which local residents can not only learn to care for the animals, but also become knowledgeable trainers as they work alongside seasoned experts.  Most of the training work is with miniature horses and dogs but other animals who are deemed suitable for therapy are trained from time to time. 

Once we have trained an animal it begins its working within the community for the betterment of all the residents.  A constant flow of newly trained therapy animals are seen on the local streets, hospitals and elder care facilities. The animals are always be escorted by a trained handler from the local community.  

Children, Elderly and Veterans

The trained animals have a primary focus of serving those who need it most in the community; children, elder care and our veterans.  The charity actively seeks out relationships with local elder care facilities, children’s hospitals and veteran centers to offer therapy services free of charge.  Many of those in need choose to live at home and not in a managed facility. In those cases special arrangements can be made to bring the animals to private residences. Nobody is overlooked and the service is always free of charge. 

Operation Therapy realizes that other local charities may be able to use therapy animals to help achieve their goals and, when appropriate, our fully trained therapy animals will be available to assist those in need.  

The Dogs

Training dogs for therapy or service takes thousands of hours. The most effective training takes place when the dog is only 5 weeks old until it is about 4 months old.  During this time socialization can be perfected through a specialized program developed by our trainers. 

The charity works with a combination of rescued dogs and specialized breeding for health and characteristics required of therapy and service animals. Dogs that go through training and do not meet the final requirements may still prove to be amazing pets and are easily adopted due to their extensive training and our safe around children and other animals.

Besides our training for service, the charity also assists with local animal shelters to provide training to shelter animals in order to make them more adoptable and less likely to be returned. It is one of the benefits of training local residents to become skilled animal trainers. Over time the community becomes filled with skilled trainers.   

Miniature Horses

Each chapter of Operation Therapy starts with a trained miniature horse.  Then the fun starts by acquiring a few young horses to the mix. Training begins with getting the minis to do simple tasks like walking through simple obstacles and learning mouth control. Training continues with potty training, a few simple tricks and a very detailed series of desensitization to thinks like balloons, wheelchairs, walkers, hospital equipment, loud speakers and other items the horses would encounter once they are working as therapy animals. 

In more advanced training the horses will get their first pair of gym shoes and go out into the town, walk down the main streets and into various shops that participate in our training program. Over time the miniature horses become a common site in the community and add a sense of character to the town.  

operation therapy