“ORIENTATION”      without   your dog or cat

Candy Mandel is the Orientation Coordinator.

Prospective volunteers shadow an experienced volunteer and their pet, in a typical pet therapy situation, to view the interaction between residents and the volunteer team.  Prior to this, the Pets & People Foundation history, expectations, insurance coverage, etc. is explained to the potential volunteers, and any questions or concerns are answered.  The orientation process can take about 1 ½ – 2 hours.

P&P has implemented a policy saying that all dogs who are certified must be at least 2 years old. That is because, as a therapy dog, the dog needs to be calm and obedient. In general, until a dog turns 2 they are not mature enough to be a therapy dog.

Please fill out our online Volunteer Orientation Form.


“SCREENING”     with your dog or cat (Current non-refundable cost of screenings is $50.00.)

Video of our Screening Process (Test)

Christine MacDonald is the Screening & Volunteer Coordinator

You should bring a current copy of your pet’s vaccination record with you.  Your pet’s coat and ears should be cleaned, and nails trimmed.  The volunteer, with their dog on a loose leash (example video), should show how well they work as a team.  The dog should know basic obedience, be friendly, reasonably calm and in control.  Our screening is also part “temperament test.”  Some of our volunteers will “role play,” as a patient in a wheelchair, or with a walker, cane, etc.  Among the tests: how does your dog/cat respond to a stranger (resident) touching their ears, back end, tail?  Is your dog familiar with the “leave it” command (to stay away from dropped food or medication)?  Your dog cannotresource guard” any item.  How does your pet respond to loud noises, other visiting dogs, running/screaming children?

All portions of the screening must be passed for your pet to become certified.

  Testing guidelines can be viewed at these links:

Test Form for Dogs (pdf) or Test Form for Cats (pdf)

Test Form for Dogs (rtf) or Test Form for Cats (rtf)

Please see the contact page for information on how to schedule a Screening.

Once your pet is certified as a therapy animal, Pets and People Foundation volunteers will help you with the following additional steps in finding a location to volunteer:

Facility Selection

The volunteer is asked to select two or three facilities within ten to fifteen minutes drive of his/her home that would be suitable to visit.

Appointment Set-Up

The Pets & People program coordinator calls the facility selected to make an appointment for the volunteer’s first visit. On this visit the volunteer will be accompanied by a Pets and People board member.

Initial Visit

Finally, a member of the board, the volunteer, and the pet make their first visit together. A meeting is held with the Activities Director and arrangements are made for the times, dates, and frequency of future volunteer visits. Both the volunteer and the Activities Director are encouraged to call the coordinator at any future time with questions or suggestions.