C.A.T.’s volunteer pet therapy teams are the heart and soul of our organization.
Together, you and your pet can bring joy and comfort to those who need it most!
C.A.T.'s certified pet therapy teams provide animal assisted interaction to people dealing with emotional and physical life changes. They deliver positive distraction, motivation, empathy, and compassion.
To become a certified team with C.A.T., you and your dog must be committed to completing our certification process.
Sounds great, right? Well, here’s what you need to know:
STEP 1: Pre-Requisites
You and your pet must meet the following general qualifications:
- Animal must be at least 12 months old.
- You must have owned your animal for at least six months.
- Dogs are required to have passed the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Test (CGC) within the last two years. A certified dog trainer must administer this. CLICK HERE to learn more about the CGC.
- Animal must be in good health and have up to date rabies and vaccinations. Proof of current health certificate from your veterinarian is required at the time of application.
- Dog must be non-reactive towards other dogs and must enjoy interacting with strangers.
- Attend a C.A.T. Orientation (for humans only), which are offered once a month.
STEP 2: C.A.T. Evaluation and Certification Process
Register for an evaluation, which will determine if you and your dog have the temperament and commitment to become a certified therapy team with C.A.T.
Evaluations are administered at no cost and take place at the C.A.T. facility. If you do not pass the first time you can register for another one. Copies of your dog's health records and proof of vaccination must be provided at this time.
For more information about the C.A.T. Evaluation and Certification Process, please contact us at (954) 990-5175.
STEP 3: Membership
Membership fees are due upon passing Evaluation.
- Annual Membership – $50 fee per therapy team (one dog and one handler) includes volunteer insurance coverage under the C.A.T.’s general liability insurance, one C.A.T. t-shirt and one dog bandana.
- Additional Dogs – $25 annual fee per additional dog.
STEP 4: Background Screening
C.A.T. follows the background and screening requirements for the State of Florida and the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). All volunteers over the age of 18 must submit and pay for a Level II criminal background screening, which includes fingerprinting and FBI national check. Step by step instructions are provided after you pass the evaluation.
STEP 5: Mentoring
Following the Background Screening you will complete a series of mentoring sessions with an experienced C.A.T. pet therapy team before volunteering on your own. This is to ensure you and your dog are comfortable and confident working in the field.
STEP 6: Volunteering
Depending on your location and the population you wish to serve, we will match you with a facility requesting our services. Group volunteer opportunities are also provided, which you can register for at your leisure. It is important to us that you are comfortable and happy in your assigned facility.
STEP 7: Advanced Evaluation to Work With Children (Optional)
To honor our commitment to offer the highest level of quality and safety while interacting with children and/or special needs individuals, additional testing and screening is required.
Our Advanced Certification places your dog in “realistic” but controlled situations, to gauge his/her reaction. This ensures your dog is suited to interact with children. Advanced Evaluations are offered once a quarter. For more information, call us at (954) 990-5175.