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Volunteer Opportunities

 
Volunteer at a Skills Practice or Evaluation:

ABLEPaws offer four (4) Skills Practices and four (4) Evaluations per calendar year. These events require the help of numerous volunteers.

Volunteering during one of these events is a great way to view first hand what you and your animal need to do to become a Pet Partner team and to meet experienced Pet Partner handlers, instructors and evaluators.

Education

Animal Assisted Interventions

Participating in Animal Assisted Intervention can be one of the most meaningful activities you’ll encounter! We all love our pets and know they are special.  However, not all pets have the temperament to tolerate the demands placed on them when asked to interact with strangers in varying conditions. For the sake of our animals and the public, we want to do all we can to ensure success for all parties. There is a process in getting started. Many places you may want to visit require the team (handler and animal) be evaluated and registered as ready to visit. A little preparation on the front end can go a long way to ensure success.

 
First, a little about the differences between Animal Assisted Therapy Animals and Service Dogs:

“Service Dog” refers to a dog trained to “work for” a person with a disability. That dog, actually, is not to be petted when out and about. Service Dog is a legal designation defined by the Americans With Disabilities Act and regulated by the Department of Justice. At one time animals such as primates could be designated as Service Animals. Since 2011, the regulations now confine that designation to only dogs (and in some instances, miniature horses).

 

Animal Assisted Therapy Animal, on the other hand, is all about people petting the animals. The Handler takes his/her pet (which has been evaluated and registered as a therapy animal), as a volunteer, to share with others. Many places require that the animal/handler team be evaluated by a nationally recognized organization, such as Pet Partners.

 
In evaluating for Pet Partners (Animal Assisted Therapy teams) we look at two areas:
  • Does the animal have certain skills (good manners and responsive to the handler as leader) and temperament that is conducive to this type of activity?
  • Does the handler have the handling skills to lead the animal and the social skills to appropriately interact with others while maintaining positive control of the animal?
 
 
Guidance and Assistance in Becoming a Pet Partners® Team
In our effort to achieve our mission, ABLEPaws helps others to become Pet Partners® teams by offering Pet Partners® Handler Courses, Pet Partners® Evaluations and optional Skills Practice (optional).
 
 
Mentoring and Education
ABLEPaws provides mentors for new Pet Partners® teams, assists organizations interested in developing AAA/AAT programs and also offers additional training opportunities such as “Read with Me” team registration.
 
 
 

Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program

Pet Partners® Therapy Animal Program, developed by Pet Partners®, Inc. trains volunteers and screens volunteers and their pets for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and other facilities. The program was established in 1990 by Delta Society (now Pet Partners®) to ensure that “both ends of the leash,” people as well as animals, were well-prepared to participate in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy programs.
 
 
ABLEPaws maintains a relationship with a number of local hospitals, treatment facilities, and non-profit organizations to assist them in developing and/or maintaining their Animal Assisted Therapy/Activities programs.
 
 
 

What to Look for in a Potential Therapy Animal

An animal assisted therapy animal is a “working animal”.  As such we want to be sure they are well suited  and prepared for the job.
 
Below find some points to help determine if being a therapy team is for you and your pet.
 
Things to ask yourself:
  • Do I enjoy visiting with people, even those who are strangers to me?
  • Do I have the time to devote to this type of volunteer work? The visit includes grooming and        bathing your animal before visiting.?
  • Is my relationship with my animal such that I can maintain control and be an advocate for my animal?
 
What to look for in your animal:
  • Well socialized to a variety of people other animals, Places and events. The visits as a Pet Partner team will involve meeting a large variety of people.
  • Able to tolerate new places, smells, noises, smells.
  • Friendly. Enjoys being petted, handled even by unfamiliar people.
  • Free from fear or aggressive behaviors
  • Patient
  • Gentle
 
What will you need to teach your animal:
 
Furthermore, dogs need to be able to do the following on command:
  • Walk on a loose leash
  • Sit
  • Lie down
  • Stay
  • Wait or stay
  • Come when called
  • Leave it
These behaviors inspire confidence in others and are necessary for the safety of people and the animals.
 
The other 8 species will have criteria specific to the species but all must:
  • Enjoy interactions with people
  • Able to work as a team with their human
  • Be in good health
  • Tolerate new environments, experiences.
 

 

To get started, we suggest, doing the following:

  • Google Canine Good Citizen test (for dogs) and work on that
  • ABLEPaws helps others to become Pet Partners® teams by sponsoring Pet Partners® Handler Courses and Pet Partners® Evaluations three times a calendar year. We also offer Skills Practice sessions (optional) prior to an evaluation so hopeful teams can judge if they are ready to evaluate.
 

 

Want to Become an ABLEPaws member?

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Looking to join us and get involved with ABLEPaws?

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ABLEPaws, Inc.

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Contact Details:

ABLEPaws, Inc.

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