Delta Society® Pet Partners® Program Overview
The Pet Partners Program was established in 1990 to ensure that "both ends of the leash," people as well as animals, are well-prepared to participate in animal-assisted activity and animal-assisted therapy programs (see below). Once registered, Pet Partners visit people who can’t have a pet with them or can’t take care of a pet, at a time when they can most benefit from the healing powers of pets. Teams will visit hospitalized patients, seniors in retirement centers, patients in hospice care, children in schools and many other places.
Pet Partners is the only national registry that requires volunteer training and screening of animal/handler teams and re-screening of animal/handler teams every 2 years – and registers most domesticated species including dogs, cats, rabbits, bird, guinea pigs, horses, llamas, etc.
Today, there are over 10,000 registered Pet Partners teams in all 50 states. Additionally, there are a few registered teams in Belgium, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden.
A Pet Partners team is always comprised of one person and one animal (their personal pet). The animal must have lived with the person for at least 6 months, so that a bond has been established. If a person has multiple animals, then they must be evaluated and registered as a separate Pet Partners team with each animal. During visits, the animal is always controlled on a leash (there may be a few exceptions as part of AAT). Visits typically last no more than 2 hours total per day so the animal doesn’t get too tired or stressed. The handler must always be the advocate for their animal partner, as it very important that the animal enjoys this work and that we do not ‘use’ them. A Pet Partners team is just that a team – and this work must be mutually beneficial for each team member.
Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA)
These are basically the casual ‘meet and greet’ type of activities as people take their pets to visit others in need of a little joy, compassion or motivation. Some of the benefits to those with whom they interact (patients, family members and staff) can include lower blood pressure, reduced stress or anxiety, and the release of endorphins which makes the person feel good. The animals can also serve as a ‘bridge’ between human contact. If someone is depressed or shy, when placed in a new environment they may withdraw. However, when introduced to an animal, that just may be the stimulus to get them engaging within their new environment.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT)
These are interactions which:
- Are under the direction / guidance of a healthcare, social worker, or other professional
- Have specific goals determined prior to visiting each patient/client, and
- The interaction is recorded in the patient/client’s record.
A few examples of some AAT goals may be to improve fine motor skills, learn to maneuver in a wheelchair, increase verbal interactions, increase exercise, reduce stress or loneliness.
Many healthcare and other professionals are licensed Pet Partners with their own animals. While other professionals incorporate Pet Partners into their practice.
To learn more about the Delta Society Pet Partner Program, please visit our website: www.deltasociety.org
We welcome visitors by appointment , call or write
Jack and Tracy Pearson:
Pearson Pond Ranch & Llama Co.
242 Llama Lane (Charles Lane), #6017
Ellijay, GA 30540
Phone: (706) 276-3658
Fax: (706) 276-3680