Our Healing Paws members are passionate about volunteering as a therapy dog team and helping out as a member!
Here are some of the advantages you receive as a Healing Paws Program member...
We want to start your journey towards becoming a therapy dog team in the right direction. Our Healing Paws Program (HPP) Director will assist you and provide guidance throughout the process of learning the skills that a therapy dog team needs. Support does not stop there - our team members are there to provide you with help and support as you continue to volunteer with us.
The Healing Paws Program Director works with each of our HPP members to:
- Identify their interests,
- Provide guidance throughout the process of becoming one of our therapy dog teams,
- Provide outreach into the community,
- Perform the planning, recommended training, and educational needs for our volunteers,
- Schedule locations and visits for the therapy dog teams, and
- Deliver ongoing assistance to our therapy dog teams.
Below are examples of support that you will receive as one of our therapy dog teams or as a HPP member.
Initially, the HPP Director will:
- Email you the Helping Idaho Dogs Volunteer Handbook and HPP policies;
- Meet with you to observe you and your dog as a team;
- Answer questions about becoming a HPP volunteer;
- Discuss ways to improve you and your dog’s skills; and
- Explain our process around becoming one of our therapy dog teams.
Recommendations may be given to you regarding ways to improve your dog’s obedience skills in order to be prepared for the Canine Good Citizen test, and the Alliance of Therapy Dogs test.
Guidance will be given to our volunteer therapy dog teams to obtain a fingerprint state and federal background check through a program that Helping Idaho Dogs has with the Idaho State Police.
Working together, the Program Director will help you decide whether or not you and your dog are ready to begin volunteering as a therapy dog team.
Assistance will be given to identify areas of interest that meet both your needs and your dog’s needs. The locations you visit will be selected based upon both of your interests.
Once you complete the process of becoming a therapy dog team, you will receive:
- Information about the facility’s preferences and policies,
- An initial tour and orientation,
- Assistance by the HPP or an experienced HPP therapy dog team on your initial visits,
- Feedback and guidance about the visits,
- Support from other team members, and
- Suggestions and oversight as needed.
The Program Director will work with the locations you visit to establish a relationship with the HPP and to pave the way, so you do not have to handle the details.
The Program Director will coordinate and track your scheduled visits at each location where you visit as a therapy dog team.
As a HPP volunteer, you can attend our workshops and continuing education classes for therapy dog teams. Please note that our therapy dog teams are required to use positive, compassionate, no fear or intimidation type of training methods. Many workshops and classes are inexpensive or offered at no expense to our teams.
If you are unable to attend a regularly scheduled visit because “life happens”, the HPP Director will try to provide a substitute therapy dog team for the facility.
Our HPP therapy dog teams and other members help support the Healing Paws Program and Helping Idaho Dogs, Inc., by attending community events and other events when possible.
There are monthly Healing Paws meetings and other special events that bring our therapy dog teams together to share experiences, assist with problem solving, offer specialized training, and support of our members. An example of the training could be practicing around medical equipment, distractions or unusual situations.
Have fun making new friends that share your interest in therapy dog volunteering!