Animal and Pet Therapy improve human health and well-being through animal connection.
Are you interested in volunteering as an animal therapy team with your dog?
Indicators you and your companion might be suitable for animal therapy work:
- Welcomes, not just tolerates, interactions with new people.
- Is confident and well-behaved in new situations, around unusual equipment and when meeting strangers of different ages, races and genders
- Is comfortable in crowds, activity and noise
- Is able to be greeted, petted clumsily and hugged without jumping, cowering, barking or biting.
- Would tolerate being bathed, brushed and having its nails clipped in preparation for visits.
- Consistently follows cues for sit, down and stay even when there are distractions
- Moves nicely on a leash through groups of people and past other friendly animals
- Is able to avoid sniffing or picking up interesting items when asked
Requirements to participate in the program
- Animals must be clean, healthy and well-groomed, bathed and/or brushed prior to a visit
- Must wear acceptable collar or harness
- Must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet in length and remain with their handler and be under control at all times
- Must wear their provided Billings Clinic ID badge to be allowed in patient rooms
- Registered as an animal therapy team with active general liability insurance
- Documentation of registration and veterinary vaccinations
- Complete two shadowed visits by an existing animal therapy team at Billings Clinic
- Be able to explain the program and answer any questions from patients or visitors
If you believe your animal fits the above criteria, the next step is to register as an animal therapy team and pass an animal therapy evaluation by a licensed Evaluator. This ensures your dog meets the program requirements and provides you a variety of benefits including liability insurance, volunteer support, access to resources, and free continuing education coursework. Costs associated with registering as an animal therapy team vary and our office will work with you to guide you through the process.
Call us at 406-657-4200 to learn more information or begin the process of becoming a registered animal therapy team at Billings Clinic.