Volunteering with Hand in Paw
There are a few different ways you can volunteer and be a part of Hand in Paw.
What Is Involved?
If you want to volunteer with your pet, do you meet the following prerequisites?
- Is your pet at least one year old?
- Have you had your pet for at least six months?
- Have you completed a basic Group Obedience Class with your pet (if your pet is a dog)?
In general you will attend:
- A pre-arranged interview (with your pet if you plan to volunteer with a pet).
- Followed by a pre-scheduled Screening with your pet (if volunteering with a pet).
- Followed by a Pet Partners® workshop [people only].
- Followed by an Evaluation of you and your animal if you have one.
- Followed by a post-evaluation class.
In between the training classes, you will complete two shadow visits with our experienced teams (one before your workshop and one after).
Hand in Paw does not charge for our services or for the training. However, there is a $35 fee for the workshop, which includes the workbook and related materials, and a $50 registration fee to Pet Partners® when you pass your Evaluation.
We ask that graduates of our training program be prepared to commit to serve twice monthly for two years. Therapy teams renew every two years, and Hand in Paw will pay the renewal fees for teams that have been actively serving.
Let us know if you have any questions or problems. We are here to serve you and help you reach your goal of becoming a Therapy Team/ Therapy Visit Assistant with Hand in Paw.
What makes a good therapy pet?
Does your pet like to be petted?
Do you think your pet would enjoy interacting with people of various ages?
Does your pet accept vigorous petting and touching of the ears, feet, tail and mouth by strangers?
Does your pet accept a stranger putting their arms around it in a full body hug?
When in a group of people, does your pet engage with others without clinging to you or hiding behind you?
Have you and your pet completed a basic obedience class?
Can you commit approximately 16 hours of training in preparation for becoming a Hand in Paw Therapy Team?
Are you prepared to commit to at least two one-hour visits for Hand in Paw each month once you are an official Hand in Paw Therapy Team?
Hand in Paw pets:
- Demonstrate good basic obedience skills (applicable to dogs): Walk nicely on a leash, come when called, sit and down on command, stay when asked, do not jump up on people and do not “mouth” people or their leads.
- Enjoy meeting strangers, and are not shy.
- Are not afraid of other pets, nor are they aggressive. They are more interested in being petted by the people they are visiting than they are in playing with the other pets in the group.
- Are not afraid of moving equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, or other unusual objects or loud noises.
- Are controllable, even in situations that are somewhat chaotic, like in a park with children playing,or in a gymnasium full of loud elementary school students.
Here are some things you can practice if you’re planning on volunteering with your pet:
- Expose pet to different environments and people of all ages – and do it often! A therapy pet loves interaction with all sorts of people, and is comfortable in many types of settings.
- Take additional obedience classes, especially if it has been a while since your last one. You can never be too prepared!
- Hand in Paw is an affiliate of Pet Partners®, and all of our teams have passed a Pet Partners® evaluation. Click here to see an example of the skills tested.