FAITHFUL PAWS PET THERAPY PROGRAM makes scheduled monthly visits to many facilities in and around Houston,
Texas. We currently have over 350 certified human-pet
teams and visit about 150 facilities each month in 55 zip codes. Additionally, we provide many one-time visits to schools
and community groups each year. We were founded in June of 1997 and are sponsored by Bellaire
United Methodist Church.
A team of organized volunteers involving the incorporation of trained animals specifically designed to administer unconditional
love and therapy to adults and children in nursing homes or hospitals and to share the joy and furry love of our pets with
the people we visit. We make smiles happen!
Animal assisted therapy is a scientifically proven form of therapy that is recognized as therapeutic and recreational.
INTERESTED IN JOINING US?
SURE you will commit to visiting at least once a month, to at least one of our cooperating facilities, starting as soon as
you and your pet get certified with us.
BE SURE you have completely read and agree to follow our Rules and the
General Information pages on this web site.
Be sure and CONTACT US FIRST (last page on this web site)
for mailing information for your application paperwork. Read all the information on all the pages on this web site. There
is normally a waiting list for our classes.
We are all volunteers, and are sponsored by the Bellaire United Methodist Church in Bellaire, Texas (in the middle of Houston,
Texas). Our Director (Founder and Instructor) holds classes
from 7:00 pm until about 9:00 every Tuesday evening except in December and January. Classes include some
basic obedience and a lot of practice at socialization with people and other pets, and practice with things the pets may face
on a visit to a facility.
Most of our certified pets
are dogs, but we also welcome cats and rabbits. We do not use reptiles or exotic animals. Dogs must pass the CGC (Canine Good
Citizen - see list of skills on "contact us" page) test and/or Temperament test. These tests are authorized and
administered through the AKC (American Kennel Club). Cats and rabbits must pass Temperament testing. Pets must be current
on all vaccinations and there is a form to have your vet complete. Many of our members have more than one certified pet. Some
facilities will allow us to bring more than one certified pet (up to 2) on a visit.
There is no start or end date for classes. Classes
are continuous, like a giant conveyor belt. Newcomers are added to class as openings are available, usually several each week.
team is judged individually. Teams in class will work on the same drills every week until the dog is ready to pass the CGC
test. Contact us before coming to a class, because there is a waiting list, and new pets are added in
the order in which we receive their completed paperwork. When you contact us, include your name and phone number, and pet’s
name and breed. Classes are ongoing, and pets are sent to our AKC evaluator for testing for certification as each pet
is ready. Some pets may take only one or a few classes, and some may take many months of training before they are ready to
be certified. Pets may begin our classes at any age after getting their rabies vaccinations, but must be at least 6
months old to become certified. Humans can be any age, but youth handlers are
limited in the facilities they are allowed to visit and those under
18 must always be accompanied at all times by a parent, both in class and on visits.
Our group has arrangements with over 100 facilities that our certified
teams visit – hospitals, nursing homes, rehab facilities, etc. Members are required to visit at least monthly,
starting as soon as they get certified with us. More is better. Each facility has at least one team leader who coordinates
the requirements for that facility. Some facilities require a TB test, Flu shot, and/or background check; some require special
attire; some require additional training or orientation. We require all members to follow HIPAA confidentiality laws. Visits
are done as a group on a set schedule with the team leader and only to pre-arranged facilities.
do NOT do: (listed here because we are too often asked for these things)
We do not ever visit in individual homes or apartments.
We do not visit
in facilities that already receive pet visits.
We do not participate in any kind of service hours.
We do not allow our members to
visit with their pet where they are employed, even if our group goes there.
We do not participate in fairs, fund-raising events,
or outdoor activities.
We do not accept members who do not have transportation or email.
We do not accept donated pets or find homes for pets.
do not accept current service or emotional support animals.
We do not train service animals or emotional support animals or pets
for use by any individual. Therapy
pets get no special privileges. Confused? Print this 2-page description of the 3 types of pet certifications that is
posted on the DADS (Department of Aging and Disability Services www.dads.state.tx.us) state website.
Certified Dog types
that therapy pets are only considered therapy pets as long as they are active members of their certifying organization. Once
they quit, retire, or are no longer active, they are no longer considered a therapy pet at all.
Our therapy teams truly enjoy every visit, and our pets bring so much joy to the
residents of these facilities. If this sounds like something you might enjoy doing with your friendly pet, and you will
commit your time to visits at our cooperating facilities after being certified, we would love to have you contact us.
Be sure you have read our whole web site, then print out all the information and forms and send us your contact information.
Thank you for your interest.