PAWS Therapy Dogs teams (handler and dog) must complete the following:
- OC Animal Allies orientation (without your dog) – Learn about OC Animal Allies and our work as a dedicated Orange County animal welfare organization and our programs, including PAWS
- Dog Observation & Training – Attend a two-hour session where our team gets to meet and work with you and your dog, preparing you for the assessment process
- Assessment Testing – You and your dog will be thoroughly evaluated using a 25-point test
- Handling and Program Class – Teams that successfully pass the assessment testing will attend a class to learn program rules, policies and handling techniques as well as protocol to help you prepare for visits.
- Written Test – Written testing on program policy and protocol
- Background Investigation screening – All volunteers will be carefully screened through a background investigation
- COVID-19 Vaccination Required – All volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19
After completing the above, teams will enter a four-month probation period while working at a facility for adults. Upon completion, teams will move forward with a two-month probation at a facility for children. The entire process takes approximately eight to ten months to complete. When the probation is completed, volunteer/pet teams will become eligible to participate in OC Animal Allies’ PAWS, Kindness Kids and Canine Literacy programs, as well as dozens of special event opportunities throughout the year. We look forward to meeting you and working with your dog!