Pets included in our program so far are dogs and cats that are at least 14 months of age and have been completed the requirements to be official PAWS team members. Volunteers are required to be at least 18years old.
A volunteer may only visit with his/her pet that is a certified PAWS team member. If you have two pets in the program, you may only visit with one pet at a time. You may apply to the Board for an exception and an evaluation will be completed to determine if you can visit with multiple animals. Other volunteers may visit with your pet only if they have participated in the pet’s training and certification.
A pet who has not visited in over twelve consecutive months may require retesting. A pet who has suffered a traumatic injury may be required to be reevaluated depending on the level of trauma.
Who would benefit from pet visits?
• People who enjoy the company of animals
• The Pets
• The Handler / person bringing the pet
• People who would like social interaction
• The facility staff
• Family of those being visited
• Previous pet owners
Who would not benefit from pet visits?
• people who are afraid of animals
• people with health concerns such as allergies
• people who compete or rival for the animals attention in a group
• people from the cultural background who view animals differently
• people with open wounds or low resistance need to be monitored carefully
• People who are having difficulties relating to people around them on a particular day.
When pet visitation is inappropriate
• When staff believe animals in the facility are inappropriate
• When the staff are not properly orientated to the pet program
• When staff are allergic to the animals or fear them
• The facility feels legal liability for accidents or injury to people in the facility is too great a concern
• When a staff member is unable to accompany you on the visit (unless pre-arranged)
When pet visitation is not beneficial for the animal
• When the animal may be injured by rough handling
• When the animal does not enjoy the visiting
• When the animal’s welfare is not assured, such as no exercise area and no access to water
• When the animal is sick or the handler judges it unable to make the visit.
When you or your pet are no longer able to visit
There may come a time when you feel you or your pet is no longer able to continue visiting. Please let the the PAWS Executive Director know as soon as possible. On your last visit with your clients, tell them that you have enjoyed visiting with them but that you will not be coming to see them anymore. As pets become older or ill, they may find the visits have become too stressful. Try to let your clients know what is happening – that his arthritis is getting too painful or that he is getting too tired. They will appreciate being told and will understand. If you are unable to do this, the staff at the facility will do it for you. PAWS team members also move away so letting your regular clients know it is happening is appreciated.
The loss of a pet is something we all must deal with at some time. This is never an easy time. You may call on other PAWS members or facility staff to help you determine the way to tell clients. Support often comes from where you least expect it