Wanted: Pet dogs & cats, to become Therapy Pets

My puppy (professional name: Moose) proudly wears the PAWS yellow vest when she 'works.' Now the our pet therapy group is looking for more volunteers.

A pet therapy group that provides programs and services in several Central New York counties is receiving more requests for services, and so is looking for more pets, and their people, to volunteer.

PAWS of Central New York (Pet Assisted Wellness Services) has been providing comfort for over 20 years. Volunteers and their dogs and cats attend de-stressing events to help students at all levels at exam time; therapy services are also provided at Hancock Airport in peak travel times; others have 'regular' jobs in area nursing homes and hospitals, and in libraries, helping children with their reading skills.

First step for prospective volunteers is to get the pet evaluated: sessions are held once a month to take a look at suitability (temperament is key, and adaptability to new situations and strangers). Next, there are training 'classes' if needed (weekly for 6 weeks) and a suitability test. Then the human part of the team picks a place to do 3 supervised visits (usually a hospital or nursing home) with an experienced therapy team. One is for the person to observe, the others are with the pet. Final step is another evaluation.

Suitability evaluations are done once a month in various locations. The next is scheduled for Manlius on Sunday, February 24th.
More information:

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