Become a Joy Ambassador
1. Watch our volunteer orientation video.
2. Read our Annual Report.
3. Take this quiz.
4. Like us on Facebook.
5. Read our volunteer newsletter.
6. Email this completed application and this completed health certificate (by your vet) to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject: Pet Visitation application).
Volunteers visit program partners based on assignment/schedule availability. Dogs, cats, birds and small animals are invited to participate.
Pet-people teams must have great people skills and be comfortable, warm and personable with strangers. Handlers must be at least 18 and commit to one visit a month to their assigned program partner for at least 6 months.
Canine candidates must be friendly with strangers including children and adults, calm, able to sit on command and stay for long periods, as well as remain relaxed and focused despite distractions and noise. They also must be impeccably groomed, fresh smelling, which includes their breath. Handlers must enjoy strangers and have excellent social skills and comfortable with people in poor health or who need special assistance.
Volunteer pets must love interacting with people, be at least one year or older, healthy, and have resided with you for at least six months. A temperament and aptitude evaluation examines a pet’s basic obedience skills and the level of voice control you have with your animal companion.
Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger
Test 2: Sitting politely for petting
Test 3: Appearance and grooming
Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)
Test 5: Walking through a crowd
Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place
Test 7: Coming when called
Test 8: Reaction to another dog
Test 9: Reaction to distraction
Test 10: Supervised separation
All tests must be performed on leash. For collars, dogs should wear well-fitting buckle, flat collars or harnesses. Choke chains, prong collars, pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars are not permitted in the evaluation or while the animal is visiting a facility. You may use praise and encouragement throughout the evaluation. The owner may pet the dog between exercises.
Once an interview and assessment is complete and animal accepted to the program, an application outlining general information, availability, pet’s microchip and license will be completed and health certificate must be signed by your pet’s veterinarian confirming annual vaccinations, parasite checks, and monthly flea/ tick preventatives. Annual renewal of this form is required. Many program partners also require a two-step TB clearance for animal owners. You will then be paired with a mentor volunteer to shadow for one hour at a program partner of assignment. This is without your pet.
Click here to view our program partners and where we are in need of pet visitation teams.
Cost to participate
There is a $40 program fee to cover to cost of the supplies, which includes a bandana and pet vest, a lanyard and badge for pet owners to wear on visits. Cash or check only. Fee waivers are available.