We offer flexible scheduling for our volunteers: monthly, weekly, mornings, afternoons, evenings or weekends.
Attend an Orientation
The first step in becoming a Pets for Life volunteer is to attend one of our Orientations. We have an Orientation scheduled each month. It is usually held in one of the meeting rooms on the lower level of the BluePearl in Kansas City, located at 11950 West 110th Street in Overland Park, Kansas. This is just west of Quivira on 110th Street. You can check our calendar for the date of the next Orientation. It is important to let us know if you plan on attending so that we can have enough materials for everyone. So please email or call us to get your name on our registration list. It is also important to remember that our Orientations are just for people, so leave all the furry family members at home.
When you attend one of our Orientations, you can expect to meet some of our active volunteers and their therapy animals. You will also receive an overview of the Pets for Life organization, find out about the many opportunities to volunteer with your pet, and learn the process required to become a volunteer.
All volunteers must be at least 16 years old or accompanied by someone 16 years of age or older.
Dogs: Dogs must be at least a year old and the volunteer must have owned the dog for at least six months. Dogs must wear a flat buckle collar, humane collar, Martingale collar, or harness. We do not allow pinch collars, electronic collars, choke/slip collars, or a head halter. Volunteers must use a nylon or leather leash. We do not allow a chain link leash or extension leashes. We require our dogs to have the following basic obedience skills: controlled walk on a leash, sit, stay, come, down, and leave it. Our dogs are expected to have a clean appearance, display calm around other animals and friendly strangers, and be unbothered by wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.
Cats: Cats must be at least six months old. Cats must wear a harness. All cats must be on a nylon or leather leash but may be carried by the volunteer. We do not allow chain link or extension leashes. Cats need to be calm around dogs and other animals and have a clean appearance. Cats should be calm around friendly strangers and allow a person to hold them and pet them. Cats should also be calm around moving objects as wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.
Rabbits and Other Pets: Rabbits must wear a harness, but may be carried by the volunteer. They must also be on a nylon or leather leash. We do not allow chain link or extension leashes. Rabbits need to be calm around other animals and have a clean appearance. Rabbits need to be calm around friendly strangers and allow a person to hold them and pet them. They should be unbothered by moving objects as wheelchairs, walkers, and crutches.
Schedule an Observation
If you would like to accompany one of our volunteer teams on a visit, just contact our office and we will be glad to make arrangements. This is a great opportunity to see what therapy teams do.
Attend a Pre-Test Class
The Pre-Test is required for all new volunteers and their pets. This is an opportunity for you and your pet to review and practice the skills that will be assessed on the actual Volunteer Team Evaluation. The class is usually offered four times each month and will last about an hour. The Pre-Test Class is limited to five individuals with their pets. There is no charge for the Pre-Test Class, but you must be registered to attend. If you choose to retake the Pre-Test Class, the cost is $10.00. Check our calendar and email or call our office, and we will be glad to get you registered.
The Pre-Test is just for the potential volunteer and their pet. No children are allowed to attend the Pre-Test class with their parents. If you arrive more than 10 minutes late, you will be asked to re-schedule. Remember that Pets for Life does NOT allow slip collars, electronic collars, choke collars, prong collars, a head harness, extension leashes, or chain leashes.
Small dogs may be carried, but must walk on a leash during the Pre-Test Class. Cats may be carried, but should be on a harness or collar with an appropriate leash.
Schedule a Volunteer Team Evaluation
After successfully completing a Pre-Test Class, your and your pet will be ready to sign up for the Volunteer Team Evaluation, and the process is as follows:
We will fax the Pets for Life Medical Evaluation to your veterinarian. We will ask them to indicate that your pet is current on the required vaccinations and respond to a few questions regarding their impression of your pet and its suitability to be a certified therapy animal.
We will send you the Pets for Life Volunteer Team Evaluation Application and accompanying paperwork, which needs to be completed and returned to our office. The fee of $20.00 needs to be received in the office prior to the scheduled evaluation. If needed, you and your pet may register and retake the Volunteer Team Evaluation for a fee of $10.00.
Volunteers wishing to certify more than one pet will only be charged $10.00 for each additional pet. If more than one member of the same family wish to be certified with the same pet, each additional family member will be charged $10.00.
Reading Education Assistance Dogs®
Do you and your dog enjoy spending time with children? Then the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program may be of interest to you. After becoming a certified Pets for Life therapy team, you and your dog can help young readers in schools, aftercare programs, treatment facilities and libraries in greater Kansas City and surrounding areas. Contact Fran Lancaster our Pets for Life Certified R. E. A. D. ® Instructor at email@example.com.
Leash Pals is a four lesson elementary level course designed to help children enjoy a safe, more productive relationship with our canine friends. If you enjoy teaching and your dog is calm and well-behaved around children, you are welcome to apply as a Pets for Life Leash Pals team!