How to Become a Volunteer
Step 1: Click Here to sign up for Orientation
Step 2: Attend Orientation
Step 3: After completing the Orientation Click Here to sign up for the Practice Test
Step 4: Volunteer Team Evaluation
Step 5: Shadow Visit
Step 6: First Visit
for Pets for Life Volunteers
All volunteers must be at least 16 years of age.
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. Pet Therapy pets MUST enjoy interacting with and being handled by strangers.
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.
The first step in becoming a Pets for Life volunteer is to attend one of our Orientations. We have an Orientation scheduled each month. 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 will 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.
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 about two times each month and will last about an hour. The Pre-Test Class is limited to about 5-7 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.
After successfully completing a Pre-Test Class, you 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.
All volunteers complete a shadow visit with a current team. Pets for Life will coordinate this visit.
Now it is time for the team's first visit at their chosen facility, accompanied by the facility's Activities Director and Pets for Life's Program Director. Upon completion of the "official" first visit, the team becomes a Certified Pets for Life Volunteer Team.