PET PARTNERS

Pet Partners, formerly known as the Delta Society, is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. Since the organization’s inception in 1977, the science proving these benefits has become indisputable. With more than 13,000 registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s largest and most prestigious nonprofit registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams. Pet Partners teams visit with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, and those approaching end of life, improving human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. With the recent release of its Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Interventions and international expansion, Pet Partners is globally recognized as the industry gold standard. See below for local contact information.

PET PARTNERS THERAPY ANIMAL HANDLER COURSE

Pet Partners' Therapy Animal Handler Course (Required)    Pet Partners’ Therapy Animal Handler Courses are held around the US and are taught by licensed Pet Partners' Instructors. The course will allow you to learn from, and ask questions of, a team of experienced licensed instructors, plus you will benefit from interaction with classmates, discussion groups, videos, role playing and guest speakers.  When you consider the number of years you intend to serve as a Pet Partner, your investment of time and cost spent taking this course is well worth building the solid foundation you’ll need to be an effective Pet Partner for years to come. The goal of the course is to fully prepare you to be the best possible Pet Partner you can be. A listing of scheduled Pet Partners' Therapy Animal Handler Courses can be found on the Pet Partners' website http://www.petpartners.org/TAPinfo.

For handlers who cannot attend a workshop, Pet Partners offers an online version of the Therapy Animal Handler Course. The course includes a downloadable student guide and additional support documents, with interactive activities, video, knowledge checks to reinforce learning that will help handlers understand the necessary skills to visit safely and successfully. Students that complete and pass the overall assessment will receive a certificate of completion and the registration packet.

TEAM EVALUATION

The Team Evaluation process evaluates the animal/handler team; how well the handler interprets and manages the animal's behavior and how well the animal responds to the handler. The main emphasis being that the animal is under control at all times. This process is the safest way to identify acceptable visiting teams.

Team evaluations are performed by Pet Partners-Licensed Team Evaluators and there are 2 parts:

1.    Pet Partners Skills Test (PPST) – will show whether the animal can be controlled by the handler and follow basic commands. During the PPST, you will be assessed on how you interact with the evaluator, the evaluator's assistants, the animal, and the environment around you.
2.    Pet Partners Aptitude Test (PPAT) – is designed to simulate conditions you may encounter on a visit. This screening helps determine the most appropriate environment for you and your animal to visit. During the PPAT, you will be assessed on how well you interact with the evaluator and evaluator's assistants as you simulate being on a visit. They will be role-playing as though they are in a facility. Your interactions may be in the form of questions, responses to the evaluator and evaluator's comments, eye contact, smiling, head nodding, directing the animal to interact, or other verbal and nonverbal methods of communicating.

The evaluation also provides valuable input for determining which visitation environment, e.g.  predictable or complex, that a team is prepared to successfully and comfortably visit.

REGISTRATION

Following successful completion of the course and the team evaluation, you will submit your paperwork to Pet Partners for registration.  Your registration fee covers your ID badge, ID tag for your animal and Pet Partner volunteer insurance for two years. Once you have received your badge and certificate of registration from Pet Partners, you are officially registered and are permitted to conduct visits as such.  In order to remain active as a registered Pet Partner with all the benefits, e.g. insurance coverage, you must be re-evaluated every two years in order to be re-registered as a Pet Partners team.

LOCAL COMMUNITY PARTNER

Community Partners and Community Groups are registered Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program volunteers that serve a specific geographic area or facility who are interested in a closer, more collaborative relationship with the national organization.

These groups of active volunteers are recognized as leaders within Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program and receive additional opportunities and benefits for active participation in the partnership program.

Pet Partners of North Florida is the only community partner in the state of Florida.  Contact Bunnie Look (blook@petpartnersnf.org), program director for this organization, so learn more about Handler Workshops and Evaluations happening locally.