Volunteer Requirements

Handler:

Becoming a Hand in Paw Handler with your animal is the most meaningful way to serve as a volunteer. It is a true team experience, and you and your animal must be dedicated to complete the training and certification process.  Please see the full job description here.

Readiness Criteria:

Animal must be 18 months old

Must have owned animal for 6 months

If animal is a dog, you and your dog MUST have completed a basic group obedience class (click here for a list of area trainers)

Animal must have up to date rabies and vaccinations

Is your animal a good fit? Below are a few qualities we look for in a Therapy Pet:

  • Your pet likes to be petted and interacting with people of various ages
  • Your pet accepts vigorous petting and touching of the ears, feet, tail and mouth by strangers
  • Your pet engages with others while in a group without clinging to you or hiding behind you
  • Your pet should demonstrate good basic obedience skills (if your pet is a dog, they should walk nicely on a leash, come when called, sit and down on command, stay when asked, does not jump on other people and does not "mouth" people or their leashes)
  • Your pet should enjoy meeting strangers
  • Your pet should not be aggressive towards or afraid of other pets
  • Your pet should not be afraid of moving equipment like wheelchairs, walkers, or other unusual objects or loud noises
  • Your pet should be controllable, even in situations that are somewhat chaotic (like a park with children playing, or in a gymnasium full of loud elementary school students) 

Responsibilities:

  • Understand and believe in the mission of Hand in Paw
  • Provide a positive, warm experience for those we visit
  • Maintain up to date training, registration and paperwork
  • Volunteer on a minimum of two one-hour visits per month
  • Bathe or groom animal within 24 hours prior to visit
  • Have all "Visit Materials" on hand at each visit
  • Let your Team Leader know when you cannot attend a scheduled visit
  • Uphold all Hand in Paw policies, including confidentiality
  • Always stay connected to your animal

Qualifications:

  • A strong desire to serve others in our community with your animal
  • Certificate of group obedience training
  • Rabies certificate for animal
  • Pet must be 18 months old and you have owned your pet for six months
  • The ability and desire to meet new people and make them feel comfortable
  • The capacity to work in partnership with other HIP teams and sites
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Keen awareness of the needs and behaviors of your animal when around others animals and people
  • A strong relationship and bond with your animal
  • Maintain timely communication with Hand in Paw staff
  • The ability to uphold the mission of Hand in Paw

 

Visit Assistant & Ambassador:

A Visit Assistant and Ambassador is a great role if you do not have an animal suited for therapy work.  As a Visit Assistant you go to sites with teams (handlers and their animals) and help make the visits more effecient and effective.  This includes greeting patients, opening doors, handing out the dog’s business cards and more, allowing the handler to keep all focus on the animal.  Serving as an Ambassador, you represent Hand in Paw at community events and health fairs to let the community know about the work of our organization.

Responsibilities:  

  • Understand and believe in the mission of Hand in Paw
  • Provide a positive, warm experience for those we visit
  • Maintain up to date training, registration and paperwork 
  • Volunteer on a minimum of two one-hour visits per month
  • Let your Team Leader know when you cannot attend a scheduled visit
  • Uphold all Hand in Paw policies, including confidentiality 
  • Serve as an ambassador to speak about Hand in Paw as needed in an informed, helpful way to those interested from the community when on visits or at HIP Events

Qualifications:  

  • A strong desire to serve others in our community with your animal
  • The ability and desire to meet new people and make them feel comfortable
  • The capacity to work in partnership with other HIP teams and sites
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Maintain timely communication with Hand in Paw staff
  • The ability to uphold the mission of Hand in Paw

 

General Volunteer:

Our general volunteer opportunities vary from event assistance, to help in the office.  If you are interested in getting involved in one of these specific ways, please complete our general volunteer application and/or email Julia-Rae.

Qualifications:  

  • A strong desire to serve others in our community with your animal
  • The ability and desire to meet new people and make them feel comfortable
  • The capacity to work in partnership with other HIP teams and sites
  • Successfully pass a background check
  • Maintain timely communication with Hand in Paw staff

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