Become an Outreach Therapy Pet Volunteer

We are not currently recruiting new Outreach Therapy Pets Volunteers. Please keep this page bookmarked so you can check back regularly for updates.

Outreach Therapy Pets is a joint initiative of SPCA Auckland and St John and involves volunteers and their own pets who visit rest homes, hospitals, and other establishments to bring comfort and support to those in need. The animals accepted onto the team have all been assessed for appropriate behaviour in unfamiliar situations, basic obedience and health.

What we expect from our volunteers

  • The minimum age for joining the team is 18 years of age and animals must be over 12 months. 
  • To join the team you MUST have your own animal – it is not appropriate to use an animal belonging to a friend or family member.
  • Volunteers need to commit to four visits a month.
  • Volunteers to have an excellent working relationship with their animal and able to keep them safe, supervised and under control.
  • Volunteers are responsible for ensuring their animal’s needs and welfare are being met at all times.

What we expect from our therapy animals

Outreach therapy animals must be: 

  • Highly sociable with all types of people
  • Confident and calm around people that may act differently to their owners
  • At ease in new, unfamiliar environments. 
  • Dogs must be obedient, with exceptional control and focus in new environments with lots of distractions. 
  • Outreach dogs should be able to walk calmly on a loose lead and perform sit, down, stay and recall reliably in an unfamiliar environment with distractions. 
  • Clean and well-groomed prior to visits.
  • Dogs must be spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated, microchipped and registered with their local council.  
  • Cats must be de-sexed, fully vaccinated and microchipped
  • Animals must be assessed by a veterinarian as in good health. Animals with chronic conditions that are painful and/or affect mobility will not be considered for therapy work.

Animals that show signs of fearfulness or aggression during the behavioural assessment will not be accepted into the programme

What happens after you submit your application?

  • We will review your application and send you a veterinarian health check form which must be completed by your animals Veterinarian prior to your animal assessment. If these indicate that your animal may enjoy and be suited to therapy work, you will be invited to attend an assessment session. You will need to complete a consent to disclose form for police vetting and bring in two forms of ID. We ask for this to ensure optimal safety for our clients, patients, volunteers and animals.
  • We meet with you and your animal to do an assessment of the animal. The assessments we conduct for dog’s look at aggression, fearfulness, responding to a therapy environment, obedience and health.
  • If your animal passes the assessment, we sit down with you for a short face-to-face interview. 
  • If you are both accepted, you will return for an orientation workshop, and we can discuss an establishment for you to visit and arrange a support person to visit with you.  

Both the assessments and workshops will be held at SPCA Auckland in Mangere. On the day, prospective volunteers are asked to bring their dog on a flat lead (not a check chain or a retractable lead) or, if a cat it must be wearing cat harness. We recommend that you also bring a water bowl

 

How to apply

Please note that we are not accepting new applications for our programme at the moment.

Please read the job description carefully as it outlines our clear expectations for Outreach Therapy Pet volunteers in terms of time commitment and communication required for this programme. You will need to fill out the application form which can be posted or emailed. 

All outreach animals must be seen by a vet prior to being accepted into Outreach Therapy Pets. At the time of application we will send you a ‘Veterinarian health form’ to be completed prior to your scheduled animal assessment and interview. 

For questions, please contact us on outreach@spca.org.nz.

If you are able to commit to what our amazing programme needs, submit an application now.

Apply to become an Outreach Therapy Pet Volunteer (PDF)

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