Contact Us

For any questions about our therapy dogs or service dogs and how you can get involved with M.A.S.T., please fill out the form below and we will contact you shortly.

  • For Donations to M.A.S.T. contact: mastdogprogram@gmail.com
  • To Volunteer with M.A.S.T. contact: mastdogprogram.volunteer@gmail.com
  • For Appointments/presentations from M.A.S.T. contact: mast.programdirector@gmail.com

FAQs

What is MAST?

The Masonic Association of Service and Therapy dogs is a nonprofit 501c3 charitable organization in the state of Illinois set out to enrich and better people’s lives. We are veteran and community focused, believing all Americans deserve a happy and fulfilled life.

Can MAST visit my site/How can I set up therapy dog visit?

Yes, please click the “Schedule Presentation” button and fill out the form. Our Program Director will contact you.

You can also call 847-772-5000 or email mast.programdirector@gmail.com or mastdogprogram@gmail.com

What does MAST do?

M.A.S.T. brings K-9-assisted therapy, service, and crisis response to those suffering. We bring emotional support through therapeutic animal-human interactions. We select, coordinate training and certification for dogs and their handlers to become therapy dog teams. We procure, train, and manage certification of service dogs who are ultimately given to patients free of charge. We also manage the M.A.S.T. Therapy Dog Certification Program.

Can MAST attend my event?

Yes, please click the “Schedule Presentation” button and fill out the form. Our Program Director will contact you.

You can also call 847-772-5000 or email mast.programdirector@gmail.com

or mastdogprogram@gmail.com

Why should I donate to MAST?

Almost all of the donations we receive go directly to the procurement, boarding, training and presentation of specialized service dogs to a patient AND to our therapy dog program. We have more patients in need than animals to train. We need your donations so that we can provide service animals FREE OF CHARGE to eligible patients. We motivate and encourage communities through positive interaction with our dogs. MAST’s dogs bring smiles and strength to those who need it the most.

How often do MAST volunteers do site visits?

Teams visit at least 5-6 times a week, and growing.

How can I volunteer?

We need volunteers! We need you with a dog or without a dog. Our volunteers that team with a therapy dog are called “Handlers.” All Handlers are their dog’s personal owners. We have a variety of visits that our Handlers and their dogs can volunteer to visit.
We also need volunteers that do not have a dog, and they are “Assistant Handlers”. These volunteers help us accompany dogs and their handlers on visits. They also assist handling dogs if their owner is not able to.

What is expected of volunteers? 

Volunteers can expect to be interviewed by our Program Director. Once approved as a volunteer, select and schedule dates to attend via contact the Volunteer Coordinator. Volunteers are expected to arrive on site on time. If bringing a therapy dog, they are expected to come prepared with a clean dog, training collar, therapy dog vest, water bowls, and waste bags. Volunteers are expected to converse with patients and facilitate the relationship and interactions between K-9 and human. 
Volunteers are their own dog’s handlers. It is their responsibility that their therapy dog demonstrates applicable positive behaviors. 
Volunteers are expected to attend at least 2 days of therapy visits a month.

If I volunteer can my children attend?

All volunteers must be approved by the Program Director. But yes, children can potentially attend with their parents. We encourage family participation.

What is a Therapy Dog?

Therapy Dogs are dogs that are for everyone. They are trained to be well socialized with people and other dogs. They are also trained to be well behaved in a variety of situations for example: they will not bark when loud sounds happen, they do not have large reactions when startled and they are trained to follow commands in crowded situations.

How much does a therapy dog cost?

MAST’s therapy dogs visit sites on a volunteer basis. The cost to have your dog trained by M.A.S.T’s Therapy Dog Certification Program or a certified training company costs around $200 for 10 classes. Insurance costs around $30 per year.

What is the difference between service and therapy dog?

A therapy dog motivates people through positive K-9-human interactions at hospitals, crisis centers, schools, etc. A therapy dog enriches lives through giving comfort and strength, spreading joy and love to people suffering. A therapy dog is a volunteer. A therapy dog has restrictions; they are not allowed access to airplanes, or restaurants. They are not service dogs. 

There are two types of therapy dogs at MAST:

  • A licensed and insured therapy dog, certified through Therapy Dogs International or the like, and can have full access during onsite visits.
  • An unlicensed volunteer therapy dog who can go on site visits, but cannot enter patients’ rooms.

A service dog is a K-9 who is specifically trained to help a specific patient maneuver through daily life. A service dog is highly trained to help with day-to-day functions and increase quality of life. A service dog requires a prescription from a doctor. A service dog may be allowed on airplanes, restaurants, anywhere their owner would go daily. But even then, there can be some restrictions.

When did MAST become 501c3 become a 501c3 charitable organization? ?

February 2017

Can the Program Director come speak to my organization?

Yes, please click the “Schedule Presentation” button and fill out the form. Our Program Director will contact you.

You can also call 847-772-5000 or email mast.programdirector@gmail.com

or mastdogprogram@gmail.com

Who does MAST serve?

The public. We specialize in service to veterans groups, hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, law enforcement agencies, women’s and children’s centers, etc.

What sites does MAST visit?

Hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, disaster areas, crisis centers, law enforcement agencies, women’s and children’s centers, etc.

Who volunteers for MAST?

Everyone. We need volunteers. With a dog or without. Please join us!

How often is an individual MAST Volunteer expected to perform a visit?

Any Handler or Assistant Handler, 1-2 times a month.

How many people already volunteer with MAST?

About 50 people volunteer with MAST today.

How old does a Handler or Assistant Handler need to be?

Both types of handlers need to be 18 years of age or older.

How can I make my dog a Therapy Dog?

We do not have an age limit for therapy dogs. However, dogs need to be at least 1 year old to take the certification exam. We do ask that all dogs are house trained.  We offer a 10-week training course that covers basic obedience as well as specific therapy dog training. Our courses are currently held at TOPS Training Center in Grayslake, IL. For more information on our courses Click Get Involved or email mast.volunteercoordinator@gmail.com

Where can a therapy dog go? Or where is it allowed?

An unlicensed and uninsured novice therapy dog can only visit some sites and staff after approval of the Program Director; they cannot enter patient’s rooms. Licensed and insured therapy dogs can visit all sites, staff and enter patient’s rooms.

How much does a service dog cost?

Therapy dogs can range greatly in cost depending on the type of training needed. The more specific and detailed the training, the higher the cost. Typically, a service dog will cost between $15,000 and $45,000. However, because of MAST supporters and generous donations, the dog is given FREE OF CHARGE to the patient.

How do I get a service dog?

Service dogs are procured through a valid prescription from a licensed doctor. Our Program Director approves the prescription and procures, manages training and boarding for the service dog. The dog is then presented to the patient FREE OF CHARGE.

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