Thank you for your interest in volunteering with your pet as a registered Pet Partners Therapy Animal Team. Your involvement will allow you and your pet to provide comfort and joy to people in need!
Take this self-assessment to determine if you and your animal are a good fit for the Pet Partners' Therapy Animal Program. This is a good way to review the minimum qualifications every team needs to meet as well as the time and financial commitment involved.
What Makes a Successful Therapy Animal Team?
What Makes a Successful Therapy Animal? Therapy animals are: • People-oriented, sociable, and friendly • Have good basic obedience skills • Remain calm in stressful situations • Are non-aggressive towards animals and people • Are comfortable being touched, at times awkwardly In addition to enjoying people, good therapy animals accept interactions in a pleasant, forgiving and welcoming manner from strangers, as opposed to just tolerating them.
What Makes a Successful Handler? Effective handlers of a therapy animal team: • Are friendly, professional and polite in their interactions with people • Have a strong relationship with their animal that lets them predict and redirect their animal’s behavior • Ensure their animal’s well-being at all times • Commit to following Pet Partners standards and procedures
The primary role of the handler is to be the animal’s advocate. It will be your job to be sure your animal is in good health, and properly groomed, and that your animal is enjoying the interactions with those you visit.
How to become a Pet Partners Volunteer Therapy Animal Team
Step 1: Complete the Handler Course
Once you’ve established that your animal is a good candidate for the Therapy Animal Program, it’s time for you to start your training as the human end of the leash. We strongly recommend the instructor-led workshop.
Step 2: Animal Health Screening
Upon completion of the Handler course, you can begin your registration paperwork. This includes an Animal Health Screening Form to be completed by your veterinarian. Written proof of rabies vaccination is required.
Step 3: Team Evaluation
During this approximately 45 minute event, you and your animal will meet with a Pet Partners licensed evaluator and complete a role play of a therapeutic visit in the community..
Step 4: Complete your team registration Once you successfully pass the team evaluation, you can finalize your team registration and submit your registration fee. When you receive your acceptance letter you can begin visiting with you animal partner. Mentoring support will be available to assist you in joining an existing visiting program or establish one of your own at a local hospital, nursing home or school.
Ready to become a registered PET PARTNERS THERAPY Animal TEAM and join Mo-Kan Pet Partners?
1)Begin your volunteer application:
Go to www.petpartners.org and the Volunteer tab. Choose Volunteer Center from the drop down menu.
1. Login and enter your information under Become a Volunteer. You will enter this information only once to create your account.. 2. You will receive an email link to set a new password. 3. Set your new password and you will find a screen that says If you are not redirected to the Pet Partners volunteer center, click here and then click LOGIN. Click the link. 4. You will be returned to the page where you originally entered your information. Click login and you will be automatically signed in to the volunteer center. 5. Go to My Account where you can start a new registration, add to or renew an existing registration.
2) Complete the Pet Partners Handlers Course 3) Successfully complete an Evaluation with your pet partner 4) Complete your team registration 5) Join Mo-Kan Pet Partners
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What types of animals can qualify? A. Pet Partners registers a variety of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, rats, miniature pigs, llamas, alpacas, horses, donkeys and mini-horses or donkeys.
Q. I just got a new puppy! Can we register? A. Animals must be at least one year old and have lived in the owner’s home for at least six months before evaluating and registering with Pet Partners. Pocket pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and rats only need to be six months old.
Q. How do I know if my animal is a good candidate for this work? A. In addition to having good basic obedience skills, animals should be calm and reliable in unfamiliar settings with unfamiliar people. They should not demonstrate avoidance, aggression, or fear. All species should be housebroken. Dogs which have been trained to aggressively protect and/or been encouraged to bite, even if it is a component of a dog sport (e.g., Schutzhund), are not eligible.
Q. My animal is intact (not spayed or neutered) – can they be registered as a Pet Partner? A. Yes, however some facilities may not allow intact animals to participate in their programs.
Q. My animal has some health problems. Can we still register? A. Pet Partners does register animals with conditions requiring prescription medication. However, animals receiving antibiotics, antifungals or immunosuppressive medications (such as steroids or chemotherapy) may not register with Pet Partners until that course of treatment has been completed.
Q. I heard that my animal cannot be fed a raw protein diet and participate in this program. Is this true? A. Yes. Your animal must be off of a raw protein diet for at least four weeks before registering. For more information on Pet Partners’ raw protein diet policy, please go to www.petpartners.org/rawdiet
Q. What training courses do you provide for the animal? A. Pet Partners does not provide any training courses for animals. Your animal should have basic obedience skills and the temperament to succeed when visiting in therapeutic environments. We train the human handler and evaluate the handler and animal together.
Q. Can my children volunteer with me or do this on their own? A. Children as young as 10 years old can become a registered as a handler for a therapy animal team. All handlers, regardless of age, will need to complete the same steps as noted on the previous page. Children younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian on all visits. Please be aware, some facilities may have age limits.
Q. What is the required volunteer commitment to Pet Partners? A. We do not require volunteers to commit to any number of hours or visits per year. We recognize that every person’s availability is different. As a volunteer, you determine where you would like to visit and with what frequency. It is your responsibility to maintain a schedule that works for you and the facility where you volunteer.
Q. How do I find a place to visit once I’m registered? A. Once you are registered with Pet Partners, you may log in to our website and find facilities looking for teams on the team resources page. You can also network with other local teams or contact places of interest to you and inquire directly with them.
Q. I have two animals, can I register with both? A. Yes, but you need to have a separate evaluation and complete a separate Registration Packet for each animal. A registered team consists of one human and one animal. Even if you are registered to handle multiple animals, you may only visit with one animal at a time.
Q. How much does it cost to do this? A. There are fees for the handler course, evaluation and registration. Additionally you will need your vet to complete a health screening, which may have an associated charge.
Q. I have more questions, who can I contact at Pet Partners? A. Most questions can be answered by reviewing our website www.petpartners.org If you still have questions, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425.679.5530
MO-KAN PET PARTNERS P.O. Box 7496 Overland Park, KS 66207