Fort Smith Pets With a Purpose is dedicated to making a difference in our community! We always welcome new volunteer teams!
Are you and your pet ready to take the plunge?
Can your pet adapt easily to stimuli in their surroundings without being overly aggressive, excited or shy?
Does your pet love people?
Basically, is your pet sweet, friendly, gentle and obedient?
If YES to all of the above, then please keep reading!
Becoming an animal-assisted therapy team requires time and commitment.
On the average, the time commitment is between 4 – 10 hrs/month.
• 1 – 2 hours each month to bathe and prepare your pet
• 2 hours each month to attend a minimum of TWO one-hour pet therapy programs.
• 6 – 8 hours per year to attend Pets With a Purpose meetings, events & fundraising.
• attend our monthly meetings
Now let's consider the furry half of your team, your pet.
Does your pet have the correct temperament for animal assisted therapy?
Your pet needs to be calm, friendly, and interactive with clients, while NOT being interested in other therapy teams, during a visit.
• will calmly accept and enjoy petting from a diverse group of strangers (all ages). This trait is the FOUNDATION of a candidate for animal-assisted therapy.
• can be in the company of other animals and remain calm without becoming overly excited, fearful or aggressive. Therapy pets are NEUTRAL with other visiting teams.
• is comfortable in new environments and NOT overly reactive to unusual noises.
• cannot exhibit behavior that could give the appearance of aggression. This behavior includes barking uncontrollably, growling, lunging, a snap or bite. These behaviors are NOT acceptable for Therapy animals.
Obedience is important and demonstrates that you and your dog work as a team. You MUST be aware of and in control of your dog at all times.
• listens to and obeys your commands of heel, sit, stay, down, and leave it (on a LOOSE leash), even when there are distractions.
• DOES NOT pull when walking on leash.
• DOES NOT jump on or lunge towards others (humans or other animals). These behaviors are NOT acceptable in a Therapy animal.
We want our volunteers and pets to feel comfortable at animal-assisted therapy programs. Our membership requirements are designed to benefit the handler, the pet, and the facilities and clients we serve. The steps to joining are:
- MEET the Basic Criteria
- APPLY & OBSERVE
- ATTEND Orientation
- PASS Evaluation
- COMPLETE Probationary Membership.
If you have the time, and you and your pet partner are ready, then click the button below. If you have additional quesitions, please Contact Us.