President of Happy Tails Pet Therapy Arlene Sinanian is here to share her best volunteering advice for pet owners.
What kind of volunteering can pet owners do through Happy Tails Pet Therapy?
As a team, a human handler and their pet can visit hospitals, nursing homes and more to share the healing comfort and connection of the human-animal bond.
Please share a memory of a volunteer visit with your own dog.
When leaving a rehab facility, we walked by a young man in a wheelchair wearing a safety helmet. He looked straight at my dog, Aiden, and asked, “Is that a Maltese?” I answered, “Yes, it is! Would you like to see him?” He smiled hugely. His dad took me aside and explained that his son had not spoken at all since his accident three weeks prior. His connection with Aiden seemed to have given him his voice back.
Which animals are best suited for this activity?
The ones with a calm, relaxed demeanor. Will your dog happily and politely greet the stranger? Will your cat or bunny allow themselves to be put into a stranger’s lap? If so, then you might consider pet therapy.