Registered Volunteer

 

PAT volunteers take their pets to visit people in hospitals, hospices, retirement homes, frail care facilities, special needs schools, and a variety of other venues. These visits bring company, support, comfort, pleasure, stress relief and stimulation to those living either permanently or temporarily in such organizations.
 
Both volunteers and their pets are assessed to ensure their suitability as it is important that they enjoy the visits as much as those who are being visited.
 
Volunteers need to commit to visiting at pre-arranged times with the organisation concerned and have a contact person in that organisation whom they will notify timeously if they are unable to do so. It is important to be on time as people look forward to these visits.
 
Volunteers need to be able to assess the people they are working with and to behave appropriately, for example to see when a person is tired and move on. Not everyone will welcome a visit from a pet – they may be fearful or allergic - and these people’s wishes must be respected. Hospital patients may be hooked up to I.V. tubes monitors, etc. so it is important to approach from the unaffected side. Volunteers need to be respectful, sensitive to people’s needs, compassionate, and at all times confidential.
 
Pets must be clean and healthy before each visit. They must at all times be under control, i.e. dogs should be on a lead. Volunteers should wear their PAT tee-shirt/sweatshirt and dogs their bandanas. Generally, visits to organisations should last about an hour and pets must be monitored for stress, tiredness etc.
 
A potential volunteer will be required to complete an application and to take their pet for an assessment. An up to date vaccination certificate is required for the pet. After the assessment the volunteer will accompany an experienced volunteer and his/her pet on a couple of visits. The potential volunteer initially does not take their own pet along until they have satisfied their mentor that they are comfortable with visiting and ready to take their own pet. Once they have completed 2/3 mentorship visits, PAT will place them with the organisation they have chosen to visit.