A therapy pet is born, not made. A pet can be taught proper behavior, but a pet's inherent temperament cannot be changed.
When a pet is put under stress, a poor or marginal temperament will surface.
A therapy pet must have a rock-solid temperament. This means that the pet should be outgoing and friendly to everyone: men, women, and children.
A dog should be friendly toward other dogs (of both genders) and non-aggressive toward other pets. Cats and other species don't necessarily need to be dog friendly, but must not react strongly when in the vicinity of a dog.
Before you consider having your pet evaluated, ask yourself if your pet has these qualities.
All volunteer teams (owner and pet) will go through an evaluation before registering as a therapy team. This vital safeguard protects the team as much as it protects others.
If you know in your heart that your pet is not suited for therapy work, don't let the fact that this is something you've always wanted to do dictate your actions. Pay attention to what your instincts about your pet are telling you.
Volunteer and Pet Requirements
- Must be at least 18 years old.
- Only other volunteers may accompany you on visits.
- Must visit and record visits on a monthly basis.
- Pets must be at least one year old.
- You must have owned your pet for at least six months.
- Pet must be potty/litter trained.
We do NOT certify individual therapy pets;
we certify therapy pet-person teams who volunteer in the community.
Your dog/pet will NOT receive a certificate to show
that they are a therapy pet for health or housing arrangements for
landlords, apartment buildings, etc.
Attention! We do NOT verify hours for court mandated community service, as TPU staff members do not accompany volunteers on visits and therefore can not verify that the hours were actually worked.
- Background check cost ($17.07 - Other fees may apply)
- Pet membership fee ($40) for one volunteer team (one pet and their owner)
which covers a pet tag, volunteer ID card, and insurance
- $5 for each additional pet on a volunteer team
- $40 for each additional owner on a volunteer team
- NEW!$20 annual membership fee starting in 2016
While we prefer that Pet Evaluators do not charge the applicants an evaluation fee, they are permitted to charge as much as $10 to cover any expenses.
This evaluation fee does not go to TPU and is separate from the TPU membership fee.
Steps to Become a Volunteer
- Fill out our registration form here.
- Check your e-mail for a confirmation message and click the provided link.
- Sign in at www.TherapyPetsUnlimited.org and add your pet(s) information.
- Once your pet information is submitted you will receive another e-mail
with a link to the TPU health certificate. The certificate must be completely filled out and mailed to Tina Chase.
- When we've received your completed health certificate, you will be sent an e-mail with a contact information for pet evaluators.
- Schedule an appointment with a TPU Pet Evaluator.
If your pet passes the evaluation, you will pay the non-refundable membership fee. If your pet
does not pass the evaluation, we are sorry to say that your pet will not be able to participate in our program. You
will not have to pay the membership fee.
- After you have completed our pet evaluation and we receive the completed form from the TPU Pet Evaluator, we will e-mail you a list of requirements:
- A link to an online quiz to make sure you completely understood our online orientation information
- A link to our background check company (Intellicorp).
We require background checks at your expense before you can become a volunteer with TPU.
We will not accept a background check with a history of theft, child related offenses, any type of
abuse, or other significant felonies.
- Pay $40 for single pet; $5 per addtional pet.
- Send signed Volunteer Waiver.
- Send passport-style photo for ID.
- Once we receive your completed TPU health certificate(s) and favorable background check results, and
we confirm you passed our online quiz, your TPU pet tag(s) and volunteer ID card(s) will be mailed to you.
- Congratulations on becoming a TPU volunteer! Enjoy yourself and make people happy!
Important Information Regarding Visits
Volunteers may not visit at their place of employment or residence.
It would cause a conflict with insurance.
TPU volunteers may only visit facilities that have registered with TPU. Once requirements are met and
you are an "official" volunteer, you may request to be assigned to a facility that has registered with us.
While we will do our best to accommodate and assign you to your first choice, we can't promise that.
We reserve the right to assign where there's the most need.