HOW TO BECOME A PET PARTNER
Many people have wonderful pets they want to share with others.
It takes hard work, training and dedication to become a pet partner team.
It’s important that teams are properly screened and qualified to work with
patients and children. They need special skills and education
to conduct visits safely and effectively.
The process is described below:
All domesticated animals who can pass the Team Evaluation are eligible to become Pet Partners.
Wild or exotic animals – including snakes, ferrets, and lizards – are not eligible.
The person handling the animal (handlers) must be at least ten years old. Handlers younger
than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must have written permission from a
parent or guardian to participate.
People who do not have an animal may also register as Pet Partners, or train and test with
someone else's pet.
All animals except birds must have lived in the owner’s home for at least six months. Birds must
have lived in the owner’s home for at least one year.
All animals except “pocket pets” must be at least one year old at the time the animal is evaluated. Pocket pets (guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, etc.) must be at least six months at the time the animal is evaluated.
Dogs that have been trained to aggressively protect and/or encouraged to actively bite may not be Pet Partners.
Step 1: Your Animal’s Training
We do not train your pet for you. Your pet must already have excellent obedience skills. Enroll your pet in school if not already trained. Dogs must know the cues to sit, stay, lie down, come when called and leave it. They must walk politely on a leash and not jump on people.
Both cats and dogs must show no more than a casual interest in the neutral dog during the Reaction to Another Dog test. They must be social, outgoing and confident in new situations and environments. They must enjoy being touched all over their bodies by strangers. They must enjoy exuberant or clumsy petting without shyness, fear or becoming overly excited so that they could pose a danger to a frail patient. They must not be afraid of health care equipment or loud noises and of course show no aggression toward people or other animals.
Step 2: Your Training
Your next step is to take the online handlers course from Pet Partners (www.petpartners.org). The handlers course is offered locally in person periodically. The fee is $70.
Step 3: Animal Health Screening
In order to become a Pet Partner team, animals need to be healthy, friendly, sociable, and up-to-date on vaccinations (as required by your veterinarian). Proof of current rabies vaccination and fecal exam with results must be included in your animal’s health screening.
Step 4: Team Evaluation
Compassionate Paws, Inc. has a Team Evaluator who comes to Rome, GA, to evaluate Pet Partner Teams periodically. Once the online handler course is completed, the animal is well trained, health screening is done, and paperwork completed, it is time for the Evaluation. The testing takes about 30-45 minutes. The expectations for the testing are clearly spelled out in the Manual. The Evaluation Fee is $35, which is donated to the charity of choice of the Evaluator.
Step 5: Registration
Register for the exam online at www.petpartners.org. Two year Pet Partner Registration fees vary from $40 - $150. The fee covers your photo ID, pet tag, newsletter and $2,000,000 liability insurance.