The following are the policies and procedures for therapy animal teams. You’re responsible for following them at all times. The team registration packet includes an agreement to adhere to these policies and procedures. Every team must sign this agreement.
I will abide by all Pet Partners policies and procedures, and I will adhere to the guidelines that are set forth in the Pet Partners Handler Student Guide and in associated updates at www.petpartners.org/ppresources.
I will represent the program in a professional manner — for example, by observing rules of privacy and confidentiality, being on time for visits, not being under the influence of illegal drugs/alcohol, and being well-groomed and professionally dressed in accordance with facility dress codes.
I will uphold the code of ethics for AAA and AAT.
I will visit only with animals that are registered with Pet Partners and with only one animal at a time. I understand that, for safety and liability reasons, visiting may not exceed 2 hours per team per day.
I will make sure that each facility that I visit has policies and procedures in place about AAA/AAT. If none exist, I will provide the facility’s program coordinator with the Pet Partners Facility Policy Agreement to complete.
I will abide by all policies, procedures and precautions of Pet Partners and each facility, and I will check in/sign in and sign out with the staff or supervisor for each visit.
I will be responsible for my animal at all times, considering its needs and humane care first.
I will always stay with my animal and remain in control of the situation. I will never tie animals to people, equipment or furniture while visiting.
I will clean up after my animal both inside and outside the facility, and I will abide by any facilityrequired cleanup rules.
For safety reasons, all animals must wear a collar or harness and be on lead, and the handler must hold the lead at all times, including during breaks.
Cats and small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs must be carried in a basket or on a towel. They must wear a collar or harness and be on lead at all times.
Caged birds that leave their cage for visits must be in a harness and on lead at all times. Caged birds that visit in their cage don’t require a harness.
Before each visit, I will abide by the Pet Partners grooming guidelines (see “How to Prepare Your Animal” in Lesson 6.1).
I will visit only in accordance with the Pet Partners health requirements — for example, both my animal and I must be healthy, and my animal must not wear a waste collection device (see “Health Requirements” in Lesson 3.1).
I understand that dogs and cats must not be on a raw protein diet at any time during their role as a therapy animal, and that dogs and cats from a household where a raw protein diet is fed are precluded from participating in the Therapy Animal Program.
I understand that my animal and I are required to wear our Pet Partners identification badge/collar tag (in addition to any identification required by the facility) while providing or promoting AAA/AAT as a registered team.
I will not borrow money or personal items or receive any personal gratuity, gift or tip, such as money or jewelry, from the people that I visit. Likewise, I understand that it isn’t routinely acceptable to give gifts to the people that I visit, even small gifts such as candy and cookies.
I will not charge a fee for services that I perform in my role as a therapy animal handler.
In the event of an accident or unusual occurrence, I will stop visiting immediately. I will report, without reservation, all rule infractions to Pet Partners and follow Pet Partners’ set procedures, with the understanding that all information will be treated sensitively and with complete confidentiality.
I will not take photographs of the people that I visit without first obtaining a photo release waiver that’s signed by both the client and the facility contact person. Photo release waivers are provided by the facility. Instant photos might be acceptable, but only if the photo is left with the client and if permission has been granted by both the client and the facility.
I understand that I must obtain approved written permission from Pet Partners for each proposed use of Pet Partners’ logo, name and/or any copyrighted materials.
I understand that, as a handler, I am not authorized to administer the Pet Partners Skills Test (PPST) or the Pet Partners Aptitude Test (PPAT) unless I am currently a licensed team evaluator. In addition, I am not authorized to teach the Pet Partners Handler Course unless I am currently a licensed instructor.
When approaching a facility for the first time, I will find out whether any community partners, teams or individuals are already visiting there. If they are, I will respect and follow proper protocol by going through the appropriate channels before visiting with my animal.
I understand that my animal must visit in the same type of equipment that it was evaluated in, and that a change in equipment requires a re- evaluation.
I understand that, any time that I am re-evaluated, the team qualification rating from the new evaluation will supersede the rating from the previous evaluation. The new rating applies immediately, even if the team’s registration period hasn’t yet expired. For example, if a renewing team is scored “Not Ready,” the team’s registration period expires early.
I understand that I must receive formal notification from Pet Partners about my registration status and qualifications (for example, an acceptance or renewal letter) before I may visit as a registered therapy animal team.
I understand that therapy animals can wear a seasonal or holiday scarf; however, for the safety of the clients and the animals, animals and handlers may not be dressed in costumes.