“The kids really enjoy being able to read to someone who is not judgmental,
who doesn’t correct their every error.”
Rita Boryszak, teacher at Octorana Elementary School
What are pre-requisites for registering with Pet Partners?
|If you are considering becoming a registered Pet Partners® Therapy Animal Team with your animal, here is some information for your consideration.
For a pre-requisite checklist of attributes we look for in a great therapy pet and handler click here.
Before you can begin the process you and your animal must have good foundational basic obedience skills including a reliable “sit”, “down”, “stay”, “come when called” and “leave it”. Your animal should be able to walk at your side with a loose leash. (This list varies slightly depending on the species and the size of dog.)
Animal Behavior and Training Books
Precise obedience skills are not required, however the handler must have control of their animal while visiting. You will need to work on being observant, seen to be working as a team, anticipating your animal’s responses, behavior and positions, and redirecting, as needed. If you feel you need more training, it is not mandatory, but recommended that both you and your animal enroll in a positive-reinforcement dog obedience course.
Prerequisites for the Animal Partner
FOR ALL ANIMALS
Animals may NOT be fed a raw protein diet (click here to read the related policy) .
There are a great many species that make wonderful visiting animals and can form a strong human-animal bond. Only domesticated animals may become Pet Partners Therapy Animals. Examples of Registered Pet Partners include: dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, domesticated rats, horses, llamas, donkeys, pot-bellied pigs, Cockatoos and African Gray Parrots.
SPECIES NOT ELIGIBLE: Wolves or Wolf-hybrids, wild or exotic animals (e.g., snakes, ferrets, lizards) MAY NOT be Pet Partners.
• Must have lived in the owner's home for at least 1 year.
"POCKET PETS" (e.g., guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, etc.)
• Must be at least 6 months old at the time of the team evaluation.
ALL OTHER ANIMALS
• Must have lived in the owner's home for at least 6 months at the time of the team evaluation.
• Must be at least 1 year old at the time of the team evaluation.
NOTE: Dogs that have been trained to aggressively protect and/or have been encouraged to bite, even if it is a component of a dog sport (e.g., bite work that is part of Schutzhund or Hunting activities) MAY NOT be Pet Partners Therapy Animals. Animals that have a history of aggression (e.g., growling, lunging, biting, seriously injuring) toward people or other companion animals (i.e., pet) MAY NOT be a Pet Partners therapy animal team.
Prerequisites for the Human Partner
HAVING YOUR OWN PET NOT NECESSARY
You may volunteer with a friend or family member’s animal as long as you have known them for 6 months, have worked with them towards becoming a Pet Partners Therapy Animal and have the owners’ written consent to volunteer with their animal. The written consent must be brought to the team evaluation and must be included in your Pet Partners registration packet.
People who do not have an animal may register as a 'Pet Partners Volunteer Only'. A 'Pet Partners Volunteer Only' can volunteer with a Pet Partners Therapy Animal Team as a helper or can support their group by helping with projects but they cannot handle the animal.
AGES: 16 and Older / 10 to 16 with Guardian Participation
The person handling the animal (handlers) must be at least 10 years old. Handlers younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must have written permission to participate from a parent or guardian. Written permission must be provided at the time of the team evaluation and must be included with the Pet Partners registration packet.