Volunteer with us
If you are interested in becoming a pet therapy team with us, we would be happy to help you with the application process.
Volunteering with your dog is a very rewarding experience for you both. The most important part of therapy dog work is the welfare of your dog, we want your dog to enjoy visits, make choices and not simply tolerate the engagement.
Next Therapy Dog Assessments are in February 2022.
What attributes must your dog have?
Your dog must be happy and comfortable meeting new people (not family), without being over-excited.
No jumping up, pawing, licking or barking (without good reason!)
Not phased by sudden or loud noises.
Be able to sit and wait, and relax when required to do so.
Follow basic commands.
Be able to walk on a loose lead with a collar (no harness* or extendable leads) *there may be some breed exceptions.
Not to have ever bitten anyone.
Will take food gently.
At least 1 year of age.
Once again - happy meeting new people - not just family members or humans known to them.
Please note we do not provide training for your dog, there is an expectation your dog has been trained in basic obedience and your dog has a happy natural ability to meet new people.
What attributes must you have?
To have owned your dog for over 6 months and have a good understanding of his/her behaviour
The desire to help people and to make a difference.
To have some spare time to be able to make visits (at least once a month).
Work well as a team with your dog.
Have a natural empathy towards your dog.
Enjoy meeting new people.
Have an understanding of dog body language.
If you think this may be for you please complete the application process shown below:
How to apply:
1. Download the application form and return it to us via email or on the address on the form
2. Send us a video clip of you and your dog, Tell us a bit about him or her via email or WhatsApp or to our Facebook page message facility. If you are having problems doing this just let us know.
If you are having any problems applying please get in touch.
Once we receive your application you may be invited for an assessment of suitability of you and your dog. This will be at a location mutually convenient.
If your assessment is successful we will put you through an Enhanced DBS check and we will take a reference. You will be given a volunteer handbook and online induction training with ourselves. You will also be asked to complete online Safeguarding training.
You will then be issued with ID and volunteer clothing is made available for you to purchase.
We will help you with getting started and to find suitable visiting placements.
There is a £20 registration fee towards insurance, DBS, ID and induction training.
What our current volunteers have said:
‘My Labrador Fern and myself joined Cariad Pet Therapy during the summer of 2021. I was aware of the work that they do and wanted to offer my services to them. My background is in education being a retired deputy Headteacher with nearly 30 years’ experience led me to wishing to do something useful to repay society. I have now established three schools which we visit every fortnight. Already staff are commenting on the benefits they are witnessing in terms of social, emotional and behaviour changes in addition to being willing to read to Fern. Yesterday a pupil in year 7 read a poem to Fern whilst stroking her fur. This pupil was known for not talking or smiling in class. She read in front of the class being made more confident with her non-judgmental furry friend. All of this has been made possible through the continued support from Cariad Pet Therapy who initially assessed us then supported us through our induction, paving the way via arranging insurance and DBS and contacting the schools with outlines of what was acceptable use of the service. They even sent templates for the schools to inform the parents. This is all invaluable as I wouldn’t have done this myself. We fully support and appreciate the work that Cariad Pet Therapy does and look forward to continuing making a difference via their services in local schools.’
‘Bailey and I signed up to Cariad during lockdown. When we were able to visit due to restrictions being lifted Rob found us the perfect placement. My main area of interest is mental health. I am a previous long-term sufferer now recovered with the help from Bailey. I also now work in the NHS is this field. Our placement would not be for everyone but my previous personal experience and subsequent training means it's perfect for us. We both look forward to our fortnightly visits, as do the patients and staff. I can tell Bailey is happy because his tail never stops, he is attentive and always eager to please. These visits also give me a feeling of warmth and fulfilment. I feel we are really making a difference. Rob and team work hard to make sure we are all happy and it’s amazing to be part of such a welcoming team.’
It’s hard to put into words what I’ve experienced whilst volunteering with Cariad Pet Therapy. The overwhelming positive benefits are obvious to see in the patients Nelly and I have visited. This is both in a palliative care setting and an older adult’s mental health inpatient ward. We have supported a man with terminal cancer in his final days, he enjoyed spending time with Nelly, giving her treats and teaching her tricks, and generally enjoyed being in her presence, “watching her do her thing”. Nelly comforted the man’s sister when she became upset, and this was appreciated, as she gave us a heartfelt thank you. The staff loved seeing Nelly, giving her lots of fuss and attention. Nelly’s tail didn’t stop wagging and she rolled onto her back for her tummy to be tickled. The reports I’ve heard since have been positive, and they want to continue the work spreading throughout Ceredigion, to continue to make such a difference to patients’ lives and their rehabilitation journeys. In the inpatient ward, staff have reported differences in patients, such as those who haven’t engaged with staff, did with Nelly. They smiled, gave her a treat or cuddles. They reported that it was interesting to see the patients they didn’t expect to engage, did so. An email from the Occupational Therapy support worker stated that patients had created conversations with staff after we had visited. I value that this type of animal assisted therapy is vital in improving emotional well-being and mental health. There’s a big sense of achievement for me as the volunteer, giving back to people who are often in a difficult time in their life. Nelly and I have a special bond and I’m proud to share that with others. We look forward to many more visits, spreading smiles throughout people’s day.
"Rob and Chrissie have been so supportive from day 1 and I feel like I am part of a bigger picture. I also feel they genuinely love my dog as much as I do and want to see us making a difference!"
"The day I decided it was time to become a pet therapy volunteer was one of the best current decisions I have made. Thank you Cariad."
"I wanted to try something different. Volunteering with my dog sounded like a great place to start. I'm so happy, and I've only just started. It benefits us all 100%,"