Getting involved with VT Helping PAWS

Volunteers at a bake sale

Therapy Team Eligibility

  • VTH PAWS therapy team handlers may be Virginia Tech students, faculty, staff, or alumni.
  • Dogs and cats must be at least one year of age to participate. You must have owned your pet for at least six months at the time of the evaluation.
  • Dog teams wishing to participate must attend four out of six VTH PAWS training sessions, including the mock exam at the end of the training period; cat teams wishing to participate must attend a minimum of one training session as part of their evaluation.
  • If you have already completed a training program for a different therapy organization, training may be waived on a case by case basis. Please contact us for more information.
  • While previous obedience training is not required to start the program, pets must be friendly and love people!
pet therapy session

Steps to Registration

  • Pet Partners offers a Handler Workshop that must be completed prior to the final team evaluation.
  • Handlers and their dogs attend a training course to learn the obedience and skills needed for therapy.
  • Following the course, dogs must pass the Canine Good Citizen certification test followed by an evaluation through Pet Partners.
  • Cat teams complete the Pet Partners evaluation requirements.
  • After a successful evaluation, handlers submit their registration documents, including health examination records, to Pet Partners for approval and are then able to visit as part of VT Helping PAWS.
  • As Pet Partners is a nationally recognized organization, students will be able to continue with their therapy pet post-graduation to serve their local communities as well.

Become a Volunteer

If you would like to get involved in VTH PAWS without a pet, we can always use volunteers to help with the following:

  • Fundraising events
  • Training sessions
  • Local assisted living facility visits
  • Photographing events

For more information, email us at vthelpingpaws@vt.edu.