Pet Partners registration is a prerequisite for becoming a member of Dogs on Call. Many facilities in our area will allow only Pet Partners-registered DOC members to visit. Dogs on Call is neither a formal “affiliate” nor “community partner” with Pet Partners. Pet Partners is one of the only therapy organizations that trains the handler.
WHO IS PET PARTNERS?
Pet Partners is an internationally known, nonprofit organization based in Washington state and is often considered the “gold standard” of therapy animal organizations. They register and support therapy animals and their handlers, known as a “team.” (Teams are “registered,” not “certified.”) Worldwide, there are approximately 11,000 therapy animal teams (with dogs, cats, horses and mini-horses, rabbits, birds, guinea pigs, llamas/alpacas, pigs, and rats) registered with Pet Partners.
WHY BECOME REGISTERED?
Most facilities allowing therapy animal visits require registration with a therapy animal organization, such as Pet Partners. That way, the facility is assured that they are allowing a trained team to interact with their residents or clients. Pet Partners provides insurance for teams while on therapy visits, but they provide no other funding.
HOW DO I BECOME REGISTERED?
The Handler’s Course covers recognizing signs of stress in your animal, considerations when working with various types of facilities, techniques for visiting with different client populations, animal grooming guidelines, infection control, and responsibilities of the handler as a volunteer. The course is for humans only! Pet Partners does not train animals.
The second part of the registration process is the Team Evaluation. There are 21 exercises to the evaluation, seeing how well the handler and the animal work as a team. Evaluators are looking for a close working relationship and an animal that is reliable, predictable, and controllable. As part of the handler’s course, the instructors present a mock evaluation so the students know what to expect in their evaluation.
WHO IS DOGS ON CALL, INC.?
Dogs On Call, Inc. (DOC) is a therapy animal organization based in southern Wisconsin. DOC follows the training and evaluation curriculum of Pet Partners. DOC is not a formal affiliate nor community partner with Pet Partners. Pet Partners registration is a prerequisite for becoming a member of DOC. Many facilities in our area will allow only Pet Partners-registered DOC members to visit.
In addition to conducting local Pet Partners classes and evaluations with licensed instructors and evaluators, DOC conducts a mentoring program for new teams. This program helps ensure the high standards our local facilities expect and make sure our members are comfortable in their role as a therapy animal team.
DOC also provides on-going local support for its members with knowledgeable program coordinators, a newsletter, an active Board of Directors, and a wide variety of visiting venues and events to expand a team’s experience.