Step 3: Team Evaluation
How to become a Registered Therapy Animal Team, Cont'd
Overview of the Team Evaluation Process:
The Team Evaluation process evaluates the animal/handler team; how well the handler interprets and manages the animal's behavior and how well the animal responds to the handler. The main emphasis being that the animal is under control at all times. This process is the safest way to identify acceptable visiting teams.
● If the handler or the animal has a disability, please notify the Team Evaluator and Pet Partners' Therapy Animal Program Advisory Team by emailing email@example.com prior to scheduling your evaluation so that special accommodations can be arranged.
● Please be advised that your animal will be required to wear the specific equipment, i.e. Harness, Haltee, martingale, that is worn during the evaluation for all therapy animal team activities.
● Please be advised that if you want to visit with your animal using a different piece of equipment that you will need to be re-evaluated and if you score a "Not Ready" this overrides the previous result.
Team evaluations are performed by Pet Partners-Licensed Team Evaluators and there are 2 parts:
- Pet Partners Skills Test (PPST) – will show whether the animal can be controlled by the handler and follow basic commands. During the PPST, you will be assessed on how you interact with the evaluator, the evaluator's assistants, the animal, and the environment around you.
- Pet Partners Aptitude Test (PPAT) – is designed to simulate conditions you may encounter on a visit. This screening helps determine the most appropriate environment for you and your animal to visit. During the PPAT, you will be assessed on how well you interact with the evaluator and evaluator's assistants as you simulate being on a visit. They will be role-playing as though they are in a facility. Your interactions may be in the form of questions, responses to the evaluator and evaluator's comments, eye contact, smiling, head nodding, directing the animal to interact, or other verbal and nonverbal methods of communicating.
After you have passed the PPST and PPAT, the Team Evaluator will give you a signed and dated copy of your test forms for you to include when you submit your completed Registration Packet to Pet Partners. The evaluation must be included with your Registration Packet. Without it your packet will be returned.
At no time will your animal be put in a situation that is dangerous. The Pet Partners-licensed Team Evaluators who conduct the PPST and PPAT are trained by Pet Partners and know that the well-being of animals comes first, no matter what. At no point during the evaluation will animals be hurt or intentionally frightened. The PPAT is designed to resemble an animal-assisted activities/animal-assisted therapy (AAA/AAT) visit. If you are uncomfortable with or are unsure of what is going on during the evaluation, please let the evaluator know. You are encouraged to be your animal's advocate.
Animals with Disabilities
There are several therapy animals that have physical disabilities. If your animal has a disability that may require accommodations during the evaluation, please discuss these with the evaluator before the evaluation so they know what to expect.
- The team will complete all required exercises in the PPST and PPAT. Accommodations can be made.
- The animal's veterinarian, in consultation with the handler, will determine if the animal is physically able to participate in the Pet Partners evaluation and AAA/AAT. Handlers are encouraged to talk to their veterinarian in consideration to their animals comfort during a visit and if this is a good fit for the animal.
- The evaluator will assess the team as he or she would any other team.
When to wait until another day to be Evaluated
- Your animal is in season or is pregnant. At the Team Evaluator's discretion, the animal may be tested at the end of the day.
- Your animal has an infection, open sores, wounds, or stitches. Wait until the animal is healed.
- Your animal is on antibiotics and/or anti-fungal medications.
- Your animal shows visible signs of not feeling well. An animal that is sick could pass on a virus or parasite to other animals being tested at the same site.