How Do I Become a Therapy Dog Team with Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara?
To learn more about our volunteer onboarding process, please visit our Volunteer Application page.
How do you certify your therapy dog teams?
New teams are certified by our program staff using our Therapy Dog Evaluation. This evaluation was created based on industry standards and the qualities needed to participate in our programs. Click here to learn more about our Therapy Dog Evaluation.
If my dog and I become a therapy dog team with Therapy Dogs of Santa Barbara, will this allow me to bring my dog to work/restaurants/etc.?
No, we only certify therapy dog teams to volunteer with our programs; our teams are covered under the organization’s general liability insurance policy. Therefore, we do NOT provide any additional protections for your dog to accompany you to work, restaurants, or other public areas that do not normally allow dogs. For more information about this policy, please reach out to us via our Contact page.
I think my dog would be a great therapy dog, but I am not sure (s)he will pass the evaluation. What should I do?
We offer therapy dog training classes that are open to the public. Please visit our Training page for more information about our classes. You can also work on your own or with your personal dog trainer to master the skills outlined on our Therapy Dog Evaluation. If you are unable to join one of our classes and would like a recommendation for a local trainer, please reach out to us via our Contact page.
What does it cost to become a therapy dog team?
We do not charge volunteer therapy dog teams to participate in our programs. We cover the cost of the therapy dog evaluation, volunteer training workshop, and all volunteer materials.
Do you have evening and weekend volunteer opportunities?
While we occasionally participate in weekend and evening community events, our program visits are primarily held on weekdays. Our weekly visits to schools are usually scheduled between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. Time slots for volunteering are based on our sites’ preferences and volunteer availability. If you would like to discuss your specific availability, please reach out to us via our Contact page.
Must I have a dog in order to volunteer?
Yes, currently, all volunteer positions require that you have a dog and become a certified therapy dog team.
How old do I need to be to volunteer?
Handlers must be at least 18 years of age.
Are there any age/breed/size restrictions for my dog?
We accept dogs of all breeds and sizes. To be considered for certification, your dog must be at least 1 year of age.
Does my dog have to be vaccinated to participate?
Yes, we require our therapy dogs to be up-to-date on Rabies and DHPP vaccinations. If your dog has a medical condition and your veterinarian recommends against getting these vaccines, please reach out to us via our Contact page to discuss your specific situation.
Does my dog have to spayed or neutered to participate?
Yes, your dog must be spayed or neutered to participate in our programs.
Do you provide transportation to visits?
We do not offer transportation to our program sites at this time. We take every team’s location preference into consideration when scheduling visits. If you would like to know if we have a program site near you, please reach out to us via our Contact page.
Can other animals volunteer?
Currently, we only certify dogs to volunteer in our programs. However, if you have another type of animal that you think may be a good therapy animal, please reach out to us via our Contact page and we will connect you with other resources.
Where do your dogs comes from?
All of our therapy dogs live in the community with their own families!
What kind of time commitment is required?
All volunteers are required to complete at least 20 volunteer hours per year. Since most of our teams volunteer on a weekly basis, this time commitment is easily attainable. If you have questions about how this may fit into your schedule, please reach out to us via our Contact page.
Do I have to leave my dog in someone else's care?
No, you will be with your dog at all times while you are volunteering.
I don't see my question here. What should I do?
Please reach out to us via our Contact page and we will respond to you shortly.