After reading an e-mail about new volunteering opportunity with my pet therapy group it inspired me to make a post about it. I’m a member of PALS of Calgary. PALS stands for Pet Access League Society. This group form and screen pets and their human to go visit people in need of pet therapy. The people and pets going through the screening process are gems. The process is taken very seriously and this made PALS an awesome group to be a part of. It’s not just about dogs. There are also cats, a mini horse, hamsters, birds, you name it. All of which as to go under the same screening process. Yes it might be hard to get in and I noticed that it’s either you fail or you pass.
Questions I get asked about the process of being a member of PALS.
-Q: Is it your dog? A: Yes we as handler are also the guardian of our pet.
-Q: Does you pet require special training? A: Not necessarily but a basic obedience is a must have with the dogs. I can’t speak for the other critters tho. A good temperament is the base of it. If you have a calm affectionate animals that is not stressed under strange circumstances chances are it can be a therapy pet.
-Q: How does the screening process go? A: When we get screened we sit in a room with many other dogs and sometimes other animals. The pet needs to remain calm at all time and not try to play or bark or fool around. No sniffing of each other is allowed. If your dog fail one of the previous requirements it is excused. If you still wish to be a part of the group you may come back for another screening round after a certain amount of time. If you are still in the room you will get called in an office where 2 volunteers will test your dog and ask questions about it. They will test its reactions with a sudden loud noise, with a falling crutch, a person in crutches, a person in a wheel chair, a person in a wheel chair moving around and more. Your dog needs to remain calm at all time.
-Q: How old does your dog need to be in order to qualify for the group. A: It needs to be one year or older but not older than 8 years old.
-Q: Does your dog need to be vaccinated? A: Yes he does and we have to show proof of it all along.
I visit with my Great Pyrenees dog Hank. Hank is now 7 years young. He started with PALS at the age of one. You might think he’s a veteran? For a dog yes but 6 years for a human volunteer is nothing. A lady in my visit group have been around for 15 years! More about my friend Hank. I adopted Hank at 10 months old from the Cochrane and Area Humane Society. He was shy and skittish. After a few months of showing him he was safe I saw the gem in him wanting to be loved by anyone. He always have been a very quiet gentle giant dog. Always wanting to please you and anyone so I got him involved in the group. He passed his screening with flying colors. Through the visits he mature to be a better dog. The therapy benefited not only the people but him too. I once visited a school with kids with learning disabilities. While I was there for the first time I almost cried of joy seeing my pal Hank being so at ease with the kids and loving them so much. I don’t have kids so I didn’t know what he was going to think about them. In one of the classroom there was that cute little girl in a special wheel chair. She didn’t smile much. Hank was attracted by her. A few minutes later she started showing sign of wanting to pet him. The then proceed to dig her fingers in his fluffy white fur. A smile grew on her face. The teacher was amazed and very happy as I was told the little girl was not smiling quite often. Hank just knew he could bring something to her and he operated his magic. Hank is an amazing dog that needed to blossom in the right hands. He’s doing therapy with me everyday. I’m happy to be able to share Hank’s talent with others that needs him. We are planning on visiting people until he doesn’t feel comfortable anymore.
PALS is like a family to me. The office people are genuine and their hearts are at the right place. The volunteers are also amazing. I have met so many wonderful people through this group. I’m proud to be a part of this. Pet therapy rocks and will always do. PALS is a charitable organization.
After you read this take a look at your pet (if you have one) and tell them you love them.
To get in touch with the PALS group please visit their website. http://www.palspets.com
If you are interested in giving support or a donation please check the tab on their website.
I would like to had that PALS did not requested me to post about them nor was I paid for this. I did it because I believe in this group and what I do.