Pet Therapy

Therapy Pet Requirements

Pet Requirements:

  • 1 year of age or older. Volunteer must have owned/cared for the pet at least 12 months.

  • Well socialized pet with basic obedience and good manners, no aggression towards food, toys, adults, children or other pets. Must pass an initial evaluation (including obedience test) and two additional observed visits with the handler.

  • Be in good health with an up-to-date veterinary certificate including negative fecal results and rabies vaccination as required by law in Pennsylvania & dog license if applicable.
Handler Requirements:
  • 18 years of age or older. People and pet friendly!

  • Commit to at least one visit (1/2 hr to 1 hr) per month to remain active; schedule is flexible!

  • Complete Caring Hearts Pet Therapy seminars #1 (without pets) and #2 (with pets) and complete/pass a PA State Police Request for Criminal Record Check. Two additional observed volunteer/pet team visits are also required.

    Please note: occasionally we have volunteers interested in including his/her pet in their job. To clarify this request: pets registered through Caring Hearts Pet Therapy are only covered by our liability insurance when the pets are used for volunteer visits only. If you are a medical professional, counselor, teacher, etc. you would not be able to use your pet while on the job & your pet would not be covered by Caring Hearts Pet Therapy insurance. Your organization (school, practice, etc.) would assume all risks associated with having your pet with you while on the job and the Caring Hearts Pet Therapy IDs can't be worn.

  • Volunteer Schedule: Individual volunteer schedules are very flexible! You choose which Caring Hearts Pet Therapy approved location or locations you would like to visit, how often and when. Each active volunteer/pet team must have at least 12 volunteer hours (approximately 1 hour visit per month or 2 hours every other month, etc.) completed within a 12 month period to remain active in the program. If less than 12 hours are completed within the 12 month period, the volunteer/pet team may need to be re-evaluated to remain active.

  • Prepare your pet: To prepare your pet for pet therapy work, we would suggest you socialize your pet as much as possible - we find a well-socialized pet tends to do well as a therapy pet. You can visit various pet related stores to get your pet used to electronic opening doors and meeting new people and new pets, Bass Pro at the Harrisburg Mall welcomes pets in the store and this is a great place to get your pet used to an elevator (note: do not take your pet on an escalator - serious injury can result from their feet getting caught) or take your pet into a parking garage and get your pet used to riding in the elevator. Try to expose your pet to various new places, new situations and new people as much as possible so they are confident and comfortable with this type of activity. Get them used to riding in your car. Train them to be comfortable with adults, children & other pets - the more exposure the better. Make sure they have zero aggression when it comes to food & toys & interactions towards other dogs or cats or other pets. You should be able to give your dog a toy & then take the toy out of it's mouth with no issue - the same with food. One issue we sometimes run into with dogs....they sometimes tend to pull on a leash when being walked by the owner so it's very important for your dog (little or big) to walk very well on a LOOSE leash close by your side, with no pulling.
  • Caring Hearts Pet Therapy has a non-refundable, per volunteer/pet team $25.00 annual fee due when the volunteer/pet team passes the initial pet evaluation. This fee helps to cover our insurance costs, etc. The volunteer's first year fee will also include a Caring Hearts Pet Therapy T-shirt for the volunteer and a Caring Hearts Pet Therapy scarf for the volunteer's pet as well as a photo ID for both volunteer and pet. You will also receive a certificate of completion for your pet. If you have additional pets you would like to have participate in the program, there would be an additional $7.00 non-refundable, per additional pet annual fee for approved pets.
  • Background check/fee: To become a Caring Hearts Pet Therapy volunteer, you will need to complete/pass a PA State Police Request for Criminal Record Check. If you have had this check completed within the past year & can provide us a copy, a new one will not be required. If you do not have one or the one you have is older than one year, a new one will be required. The volunteer would go online (we will provide the link information, etc.) complete the check & provide a copy to Caring Hearts. At this time, this is only required one time, when you first become a volunteer.

  • Background checks/fees required for Youth Programs: If a volunteer gets involved in our youth programs (schools, libraries, pediatric rehabs or hospitals, Ronald McDonald House, etc.) on a regular basis a current Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance will also be required. If you have had this clearance completed within the past year & can provide us a copy, a new one will not be required. If you do not have one or the one you have is older than one year, a new one will be required with the volunteer completing this clearance online. In addition an FBI Fingerprint Report will be required with the volunteer paying the $27.50 cost. However, if you have lived for the past 10 years only in Pennsylvania, then you are exempt from the FBI Fingerprint Report but you must sign an affidavit. NOTE: Per Pennsylvania State Law, volunteers working with children on a regular basis must renew their Pa State Police Criminal Record Check, the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance & FBI Fingerprint report/or exemption every 3 years. For the volunteer to continue working with children these clearances must be completed online by the volunteer for the Pa State Police Criminal Record Check and the Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance and providing updated copies to Caring Hearts. If a fingerprint report is required (volunteer has not lived in Pennsylvania only for the previous 10 years) there is a $27.50 fee which the volunteer will be responsible for paying and providing an updated copy to Caring Hearts.
  • To be an active, registered volunteer/pet team with the Caring Hearts Pet Therapy program covered by our program's commercial liability insurance policy, you must be a team in good standing with paid annual fees, completing at least 12 volunteer visiting hours per 12 month period, pet has current rabies vaccination and proof of annual negative fecal test and have a current or life-time dog license, if applicable. Only active, registered volunteer/pet teams will be covered by our program's liability insurance & our insurance only covers events coordinated by Caring Hearts and visits to our 50+ approved Caring Hearts locations. If a location or event visited is not on our list of approved locations or events, our insurance is not in effect.

  • Our Caring Hearts Pet Therapy insurance policy provides liability insurance that protects our volunteers from claims of others for injury or illness and property damage resulting from therapeutic visitation at any of our approved Caring Hearts Pet Therapy locations or attending Caring Hearts Pet Therapy sponsored events with volunteers' Caring Hearts active, registered therapy pets. This coverage does not protect volunteers or their pets from injury or illness as a result of participation. This coverage will not be extended to visits, contact or activities that are part of a volunteer's daily life, including employment. Coverage would not be provided for damages caused by intentional acts or as a result of a volunteer acting outside the scope of, or not in compliance with, our Caring Hearts Pet Therapy Policies & Procedures. Please note: our therapy pets are not considered service animals and do not have the same legal access rights as service animals.

Copyright 2016 Caring Hearts Pet Therapy
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