Our Species are Diverse, Our Volunteers Should be Also

At Pet Partners, our volunteers serve diverse populations of people with any of the nine species of animals we register. We are committed to creating a volunteer force that is more representative of the populations we serve. We welcome unique perspectives and experiences in terms of national origin, culture, socioeconomic background, ethnicity, race, color, sex, gender identity and expression, education, age, languages spoken, veteran status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and beliefs, which help us strengthen our impact.

Want to bring joy and improve lives in your community, all while spending time with your pet? If the answer is yes, then we’re here to get you started and support you along the way!

One of the best things about Pet Partners is that while dogs make up 94% of the teams in our Therapy Animal Program, we also welcome friendly, well-behaved cats, horses, birds, pigs, llamas & alpacas, rabbits, rats, and guinea pigs.

First Steps of Therapy Animal Team Registration

Learn the benefits of registering with Pet Partners:

  • Industry-leading handler training to help you make safe, effective visits with your pet.
  • Comprehensive liability insurance coverage while you and your pet are on visits.
  • Tools for finding volunteer opportunities.
  • Access to Pet Partners’ online courses for free or at discounted prices.
  • An ID badge picturing you and your pet.
  • Support from our Therapy Animal Program staff to help you every step of the way.

Find out if you and your pet are ready to volunteer:

Registration and Application Overview

Ready to get started? Below is an overview of the steps you’ll follow to complete your volunteer application.


Create an account & Start a Team Registration

Create your online account in the Volunteer Center–you’ll need to log in to your account to complete each step of your registration. Once logged in, click My Registrations, and then Start a Team Registration. The checklist will serve as your guide through the registration process.


Take the Pet Partners Handler Course

The key to safe, effective visits is the training for the “human end of the leash”– you. The Handler Course is not an animal training course. Instead, you’ll learn your responsibilities and expectations for successfully volunteering as a Pet Partners handler in any facility you wish to visit.

The course can be taken either in person, if a volunteer instructor lives in your area, or online. The in-person course is a great opportunity to ask questions of an experienced Pet Partners volunteer and make connections in your local community. However, there might not always be a course in your area at a time that works in your schedule, so the online course is a great alternative.

You must complete and pass either the online or in-person Handler Course before attending your team evaluation.


Complete your Pet Partners Animal Health Screening Form

Our Animal Health Screening Form will be signed by your veterinarian, confirming that your animal is healthy and able to participate in the program. The form is available as part of your online registration process. Only the official Pet Partners Animal Health Screening Form is acceptable documentation to meet this requirement.


Sign up for and attend your Team Evaluation

This is the moment of truth when you and your pet demonstrate that together you are able to conduct safe and effective visits. The team evaluation is a simulated therapy animal visit conducted by a Pet Partners volunteer team evaluator. Remember, you must complete and pass your Handler Course before the date of your team evaluation.


Complete the Volunteer Agreement, Special Initiatives, & Badge Photo sections of your application

Read, review, and accept the terms of the Volunteer Agreement; opt in to our special Read with Me™ and Walk with Me™ initiatives if you like; and upload a photo of yourself and your animal that will appear on your therapy animal team ID badge.


Submit your application and complete a background check

To finish up, complete a background check via an email request from the Advocates at Sterling Volunteers on behalf of Pet Partners.

Start My Volunteer Registration

Need more information?

Before getting started, it’s very important for you to take a look at the following resources to help you decide if the program will be a good fit for you and your pet.

We also encourage you to view a Volunteering with Your Pet webinar to learn more from a current volunteer.