Volunteer with us

Volunteering with your dog at Cariad Pet Therapy is a very rewarding experience. The human-animal bond is a powerful connection that has brought benefit to both humans and dogs for many years.

It is vital that the dog shows consent to engage and is happy doing so, not all dogs have the natural ability to engage with people they may not have met before.

 

This is why we feel you cannot 'train a therapy dog' per se. You can train peripheral behaviors like loose lead walking and to follow basic safety commands, but we feel you cannot train the dogs emotional connections and desire to say hello to others.

 

We are to ensure that the dog is happy and shows consent signals, such as moving forwards to say hello and hanging around for a cwtch (cuddle), with a relaxed, happy demeanor. 

 

It is therefore important for you to differentiate between how loving your dog is with you and your family at home - with how they are meeting people they may not have met before.

 

Often dogs do not offer this level of love and engagement to others not known to them, but some do and they enjoy it - that is what we are looking for. 

What attributes must your dog have?

  • Your dog must be happy and comfortable meeting new people (not just your 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.

  • Follows basic commands.

  • Be able to walk on a loose lead alongside you.

  • Not to have ever bitten anyone.

  • Will take food gently.

  • Have an up to date vaccination, or tire test record for your dog.

  • At least 1 year of age, although be aware if your dog has had limited social experiences due to lockdowns.

  • 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.

  • To be able to show you have your dog under control and your dog looks to you.

  • The desire to help people, to make a difference, and to show compassion.

  • To have some spare time to be able to make visits (at least once a month).

  • To be confident to visit independently or within a small team.

  • Work well as a team with your dog.

  • Have a natural empathy towards your dog.

  • Enjoy meeting new people and being able to talk about your dog.

  • Have an understanding of dog body language, and to be able to read the emotional experience of your dog.

  • To know when your dog wants to 'check out' and take a break, or move on.

Registration

If you were to join us there is a £20.00 registration fee. You are provided with an ID/lanyard with a photo of you and your dog on it and it is valid for 1 year, whereupon it is renewed for £10.00 each year. You will be asked to complete an Enhanced DBS or PVG for Scotland volunteers, online Safeguarding Training and our Onboarding programme. You will also have to agree to our Volunteer Code of Conduct. There will be an application form to complete also.

Clothing for you and your dog (bandanna/tabard) is available to purchase. We provide your insurance to visit, placement arrangement and ongoing support. We have a closed Facebook group for Volunteers and a Volunteer Padlet Bulletin Board. 

If you think this may be for you please complete the initial enquiry form below. We will then get back in touch to see if you will be asked to attend a therapy dog assessment.

Our next therapy dog assessment day is June - tba at Pontlliw Village Hall, Carmel Rd, Pontlliw, Swansea SA4 9EX

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