Therapy Pets of Northern Arizona provides therapy pet training and can assist you at the local level with finding a place to volunteer. However, you will need to pass an evaluation with a national pet therapy organization. This will ensure that you and your dog have the proper training and have met requirements to volunteer in a public place. We provide guidance and the evaluation for Pet Partners, as outlined below. However you can register with other national organizations and sign-up with us to volunteer locally.
Here is a sample breakdown of steps you will need to take to register you and your pet as a Team with Pet Partners:
- Pet Partners Handler’s Course: Your first step is to open an account on the Pet Partners Volunteer Center, take and successfully complete an online Pet Partners Handler’s Course. The course will provide you with a thorough background in the responsibilities and necessary considerations for successful volunteering with your pet. This is not an animal training course but is strictly for the handler. Cost: $70
- Team Evaluation: Our evaluation is conducted with a Pet Partners licensed evaluator and tests you and your therapy pet as if you might be visiting at a facility. Other national organizations, such as Therapy Dogs International, and Alliance of Therapy Dogs also require an evaluation. To evaluate with us you need to sign up online at petpartners.org. On the day of the evaluation, you must present a completed Pet Partners handler questionnaire, and show current rabies shot documentation (if applicable to your pet). During the evaluation you must demonstrate your ability to positively communicate with your pet while managing their behavior, and your pet needs to demonstrate appropriate training, temperament, and suitability for pet therapy. Approved equipment must be used during the evaluation and later during volunteer visits. The evaluation usually takes between 15-25 minutes. Cost: $35 for evaluator fees.
- Pet Health Screening Form: Pet Partners Animal Health Screening Form must be filled out by a veterinarian, confirming that your animal is healthy and able to participate in the program. The form must then be included in your registration application. Cost: $25-$60 (varies, depending on the vet).
- Photo: You will need a photo of you and your pet for your badge. The handler and the pet’s face need to be close together and clearly visible.
- Register: After you have completed the online course, passed the evaluation, had your vet sign the Pet Health Screening Form, and taken a picture, you are ready to register! Log into the Pet Partners Volunteer Center upload all the information requested, and sign a volunteer agreement form. Cost for a 2 year registration with Pet Partners: New Therapy Pet Team (one animal) $95, Renewing Therapy Pet Team (one animal) $70, Senior aged 55 and over; minor; military or military dependent; individual with a disability $50, Therapy Pet Team additional handler or additional pet $30. Other organizations have different costs. Estimated cost to become a registered Pet Partners team (not including training or rabies vaccination): $240. Visit our scholarships page for assistance with registration costs.
- Sign-up with Therapy Pets of Northern Arizona: After you’ve completed the above steps please sign-up (for free!) with us.