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                                    Do you have time to volunteer and give to                                            others and share time with your animal? If                                          so, consider joining us! Find out what it                                                takes to be a volunteer!


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 a parent or guardian to participate.

  • People who do not have an animal may also train and test with someone else's pet with the owner’s permission for them to become a Pet Partner with their animal.

  • 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 (  The Handlers Course is offered locally in person periodically.  The fee is $70.

  • Consider attending a Team Evaluation event to watch the process before your animal is evaluated.

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).  You begin the registration process on the Pet Partner website; on the website, you will download an Animal Health Screening form for your veterinarian to complete. You will then need to upload that form at your registration site set up on the Pet Partner website (


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 and uploaded, it is time                                           for the Evaluation.  The Evaluation is also scheduled on the Pet                                                       Partner website. The testing takes about 30-45 minutes.  The                                                           expectations for the testing are clearly spelled out in the Handler’s Course.  The Evaluation Fee is $35, which is donated to the charity of choice of the Evaluator. Once you have registered for the exam, please mail at check for $35 payable to Compassionate Paws, Inc. to; Compassionate Paws, Inc., 3 Central Plaza #217, Rome, GA 30161-3233. This is a non-refundable fee to hold your registration appointment time.







Step 5: Registration


Once you and your animal have passed the exam, you must go back to the Pet Partner website and pay your two year Pet Partner Registration fee which varies from $50-$150. The fee covers your photo ID, pet tag, news letter and $2,000,000 liability insurance.

Click this link for Team Online Registration Overview.

To read the general information packet on Pet Partners, Inc please click here.

A downloadable/printable copy of the Compassionate Paws, Inc. manual can be found at this link. CPManual











If you are considering becoming a Pet Partner and would like to be affiliated with Compassionate Paws Inc., please contact Misty Rigas at or call us at 706-331-5470. We are happy to add you to the contact list for upcoming events and educational opportunities.

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Click image for tips on
preparing for your evaluation

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Click image to see what an evaluation looks like

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Click image to see Pet Partners Evaluation Demonstration

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