If you’re interested in becoming a visiting volunteer, simply complete our online application form and provide two character references.
A copy of your pet’s vaccination certificates is also required.
An annual volunteer contribution is requested.
PAT Volunteer Teams are supported by the charity and we can introduce you to local establishments who have registered with us and are waiting for a visit. Regular visits are generally appreciated, but there’s no minimum or maximum commitment. It’s up to you how much time you dedicate to volunteering. All we ask is that your dog has regular breaks and doesn’t work for more than two hours at any time.
How do I apply to become a Pets As Therapy (PAT) Volunteer?
It's easy to apply to become a PAT Volunteer, simply click on the Apply to become a Volunteer button to complete the form. As part of the registration process, you will be asked to provide two character references for yourself and a copy of your pet’s vaccination certificate. All our PAT Pets are temperament assessed. A local accredited Pets As Therapy Assessor will check that your dog or cat is sociable, friendly and calm.
For more information please download our PAT Application Factsheet.
Are all pets suitable to become a PAT Pet?
PAT Pets come in all shapes and sizes, and can be a pedigree or a crossbreed. PAT Pets should be friendly and calm, healthy and well-groomed, and love being fussed over. There are some requirements, however. Your pet must be at least nine months old and you must have known them for at least six months. They must also have up-to-date vaccinations, had a regular worming treatment and be protected against fleas.
Is there an upper age limit for my pet to become a PAT pet?
We know how much our PAT pets give during visits; in the later stage of their life it may be too stressful to start this venture. If your pet is older, please consider the impact that visiting a new and demanding environment may have on your pet, it could exacerbate existing health conditions in older pets. We understand this may be a disappointment, it is for us too to turn away any pet when we know in their heart they have so much to give.
Why is it a requirement that PAT Dogs don't eat raw food?
As a provider of therapeutic pet visits across the UK we always strive to ensure visits are carried out in the safest way possible and following all guidelines and recommendations. This includes guidance from the Intensive Care Society and guidance from the Royal College of Nursing which states visiting therapeutic pets cannot be fed a raw diet.
What does the temperament assessment entail?
Your assessment will take place in a convenient location, where you’ll meet an accredited Pets As Therapy Assessor. The assessment is straightforward, lasts around 45 minutes and enables us to make sure your dog is friendly, sociable and calm, and that it doesn’t mind being stroked or handled. Fit, healthy dogs behave appropriately as PAT Dogs under demanding social and physical situations. A clean, well-groomed dog is a sign of a responsible pet owner. Assessors are also asked to make note of any other behaviours that they may observe throughout the assessment, for example, jumping up, pawing or excessive licking. Such behaviours are not acceptable on Pets As Therapy visits.
For more information please download our Temperament Assessment Factsheet.
Can my assessment take place at my home address?
Unfortunately we are unable to carry out an assessment at your home address. It is important that the assessment is carried out at a neutral location for you and your pet so our assessor is able to assess your pet outside of their own environment.
What if my pet fails the assessment?
If for any reason your pet does not meet our assessment requirements and there is considered to be an unacceptable risk to the clients/patients that we are visiting, your dog will be deferred. Assessors are trained to conduct the test in such a way that all pets are assessed fairly and consistently. The behaviours that may result in a deferral include jumping up, putting paws up or reluctance/backing away when being fussed.
Deferrals are discussed and considered very carefully and if your application is deferred, don’t worry, you’ll be invited to be re-assessed at a later date. For more information please download our Temperament Assessment Factsheet.
How much does it cost to become a volunteer?
Volunteers are required to pay an annual contribution to the Charity, which is currently £25 (or £35 for a joint contribution). This goes towards the volunteer’s liability insurance. Expenses may be reimbursed by some establishments, but please enquire about this before you start visiting.
Do I have to buy branded PAT Volunteer clothing?
You are not required to wear any official Pets As Therapy clothing, but you must always display your ID badge while on visits. If you are to appear in a publicity or National Office event, you and your pet may be asked to wear official clothing that has our Pets As Therapy logo on it. If this is the case, you’ll be able to borrow the items you require from our extensive loan stock. If, however, you’d prefer your own items, a full PAT Volunteer and PAT Pet range is available to buy.
How often am I expected to visit?
There is no set requirement on how often you need to undertake visits on behalf of Pets As Therapy, but regular visits are greatly appreciated by all those who receive them. Please discuss frequency with the establishment before starting your visits. For further information, please contact the Pets As Therapy National Office.
What can I expect from Pets As Therapy?
As a Pets As Therapy Volunteer you can expect: • Fair selection and recruitment • A rewarding and worthwhile volunteering experience that benefits individuals and the community • Support from local volunteers (Voluntary Area Coordinators) and from the Charity • Due diligence for your health and safety • The Charity to recognise the rights, roles and responsibilities of you and your PAT Pet.
For more information please download our PAT Volunteer Agreement Factsheet.
What does Pets As Therapy expect of its visiting volunteers?
As a PAT Volunteer the Charity expects you to: • Operate to the agreed standards and policies of the Charity and uphold the vision, aims and strategy of the Charity at all times • Work as an individual and also as part of a team • Abide by any requirements of the establishments you visit • Give the establishment notice of any absence or intention to stop visiting • Inform the Charity should you need to stop visiting • Take advantage of support and supervision offered and give feedback • Contact National Office for support and guidance if any problems arise.