Our Pet Therapy program is composed of volunteers with their own Certified Pet Therapy animals who visit those in need of kindness and compassion, as well as promote a love and caring for animals. Therapy animals are not Service animals, so enjoy no special privileges to enter restaurants, airplanes, stores, etc. Therapy pets visit places to provide comfort and cheer while service animals live with their owners and provide specific services for that person.
Most of our Pet Therapy visits are performed weekdays (M-F) from 9-5, so your availability during those times is needed. There are a few evening programs and an occasional weekend request, but these are not as common.
The Pet Therapy visits normally last for an hour or less. If they go longer, they are not strenuous so as not to put undue pressure on the animals. We ask that you try to commit to at least 2 visits each month.
The Pet Therapy Program has 3 separate branches – Pet Therapy, Humane Education and Read to Dogs. Once you are certified, you and your pet can participate in any or all of these. To learn about the specifics of each branch, please click on the links below.
YOUR PET – To learn about the very important QUALIFICATIONS FOR A MCSPCA PET THERAPY ANIMAL, please click here.
YOU – In order to prepare you for Pet Therapy, the Monmouth County SPCA offers a Pet Therapy Handler’s Training Class. This class will help you to understand how Pet Therapy works, what is needed to become a certified Pet Therapy team member and give our program coordinators a first look at your pet. This class has proven to be very helpful in meeting the other requirements of becoming a Pet Therapy team. This class is scheduled periodically, once we have a minimum number of interested people and you will be notified when it is scheduled.
You and Your pet must then pass a comprehensive hands-on test to be certified as a Pet Therapy Team. You and your pet are tested as a team. Once you pass, your animal can participate in the MCSPCA program with you only. If other family members want to participate with the same animal, they have to go through the entire process separately and be tested separately with that pet.
The other requirement for Pet Therapy is that you must also be registered as a Volunteer with the Monmouth County SPCA. That entails attending a New Volunteer orientation and submitting to a background check. There is a one-time fee of $50, which covers the background check, volunteer t-shirt and photo ID. You can go through the entire Pet Therapy process, but cannot attend any Pet Therapy visits until you have completed the requirement of being a Volunteer. (Note that you do not need to go through the training with a mentor volunteer inside the shelter, unless you also plan on volunteering in other areas of shelter care.)
We require an annual fee of $20 per handler to participate in the Pet Therapy program. This helps to offset the costs of running the program. Once this is paid and you have met all the other requirements, you will receive a Monmouth County SPCA Pet Therapy vest for your pet to wear on your Pet Therapy visits. Once fully certified and registered, you will receive periodic emails from our program administrators advising of the opportunities available for you and your pet.
If you have any questions or require additional information, please contact us at [email protected].