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Has anyone volunteered with Pets As Therapy?

(26 Posts)
Pythone Thu 12-Apr-18 20:45:30

I'm considering applying for my dog to become a PAT dog when I've had him for long enough (6 months) - he's extremely friendly, outgoing, not scared of anything (which can be good and bad!), and we get stopped in the street all the time because people want to stroke him. PAT is such a great idea, and I'd love to be a part of it with my little dog.

Has anyone done it? Would you recommend it? Any unexpected downsides?

Here is a gratuitous photo of my little man!

OP’s posts: |
TreadingTreacle Thu 12-Apr-18 20:51:40

He's gorgeous, am sure he'd melt a few hearts. Haven't done it but have lots of clients with PAT dogs, they find it hugely rewarding, some of their stories bring tears to my eyes. I would suggest getting in touch with the organisation and finding out a bit more about it. It's something I hope to do in the future.

Penfold007 Thu 12-Apr-18 21:00:31

I've never been in a position to be a PAT dog owner. However, when my dad was end of life in hospital a couple of PAT dogs came to see him at various times. He absolutely loved those visits (as did we) they really seemed to cheer him up even when he was very confused. Thank you for considering volunteering your pup as a PAT dog and good luck.

yellowfreesia Fri 13-Apr-18 10:42:48

My dog is a PAT dog. She passed the assessment with flying colours as she's very calm, loves to be stroked and isn't fazed by loud noises.

I take her to a nursing home every week. Some of the residents' faces light up when they see her and I'm sure it makes a difference to their day.
We've also started going to a school where the children read to us. That's lovely.

It's important that noises don't bother the dog. Walking sticks can clatter to the ground and in the school we've had a fire alarm practice.

I can't think of any downsides. The organisation will put you in touch with a regional assessor. Good luck!

Baffledbylife123 Fri 13-Apr-18 10:45:26

I’d love to do this with my dog but I worry that she’s not calm enough! I imagine it must be so rewarding for all involved.

Adarajames Fri 13-Apr-18 11:01:07

I've looked at having my girl assessed for it, but says you have to have them vaccinated yearly, which I don't do as even the manufacturers agree the protection lasts 18months - 3 years; so that counts is out which is a shame as my girl is so soft and loving and adores people and attention

Pythone Fri 13-Apr-18 11:09:07

Thank you everyone!

The concern I have with my dog is that he's very enthusiastic about meeting new people, so I will have to work on training him not to lick people or put his paws up! Loud noises aren't a problem for him.

I know I will need to change his diet (he's on raw food at the moment, which isn't allowed) as well.

OP’s posts: |
yellowfreesia Fri 13-Apr-18 11:47:39

My dog doesn't lick anyone (except me!) and never puts her paws up or jumps up. I'd love to say it was because of my good training but it's just the way she is. And she's quite old now so even calmer.

I think that's very important as she goes into places where not everyone likes dogs, and some are afraid of them. Her calmness has won people round who would never normally touch a dog.

3dogsnorth Fri 13-Apr-18 11:58:42

Hi yes I've done it with my dog. Short assessment by my own vet and references for me and we are qualified. I don't go now but used to take my dog to an old people's day centre. They enjoyed her visit very much. Things you'll need to be aware of: lots of interesting smells (incontinence) and old ladies wanting to feed her bars of chocolate. I found the residents were just happy to see a different face whether it was mine or my dog. It's quite intense for the dogs though. Also if you are giving your dog a raw food diet then pets as therapy won't take them on due to risk of infection. If you've got any questions let me know!

Adarajames Fri 13-Apr-18 12:34:43

Ah hadn't noticed the no raw feeding bit, counts is out then as I feel it's the best and healthiest diet for my dog, risk of infection is so minimal and can be controlled further by wiping their face after food, so seems a little over cautious but guess we'll have to stick to Search dog work instead

3dogsnorth Fri 13-Apr-18 12:53:40

There are other charities that do pet visiting, pets as therapy is the one I'm registered with. Check some of the others and see if they exclude raw feeders. I guess quite a lot of people that are visited have low immunity so they obviously aren't taking any risks

Elphame Fri 13-Apr-18 17:39:38

I have considered this for Elfpup as he's calm, very friendly and loves meeting people.

I put it to one side though as he was too young at the time but if a couple of raw chicken wings a week means he is ineligible that is the end of it. I'm not going to change his diet. It must be a recent change as I don't recall noticing it on the site before.

I'd love to know how they intend to enforce it though

I'd love to know how

FittyPheasant Sat 14-Apr-18 08:25:23

I have a pup whose only ambition in life is to be a PAT dog, she too young yet but I intend to get her working as it would make her so happy.

I think the raw thing is because the charity is sponsored by a dog food manufacturer not because there is any actual increased risk of infection. My dog has a penchant for horse and badger poo, I don’t see that question on the form but my guess is the risk is about the same 🤔. Either way I make sure she is clean before we go anywhere.

fourpawswhite Sat 14-Apr-18 08:28:19

I've not done PAT officially but I take my wee Parson in to my grans care home every week and they absolutely love her. The staff close the doors and she's like a little nurse, goes round and speaks to every resident in the room.

The only shockmoment I had was when one lady gave her an entire scone when I was not looking. The scone was probably the equivalent of about two days food weight wise.

She is very very gentle and the staff almost give me a row if I go without her.

BertrandRussell Sat 14-Apr-18 08:36:13

My dog got turned down because despite being perfect in every other way, she scrabbles when she's happy and it would have been dangerous for people with delicate or sensitive skin. sad

Blobbyweeble Sat 14-Apr-18 09:02:34

My sister did it with her dog but found the rules were too restrictive for the brain injured man she visits. He wasn’t allowed to hold the lead and they weren’t allowed to go out. She now does it privately and they go for a walk and a coffee in a dog friendly cafe.

Pythone Sun 15-Apr-18 08:56:47

I don't mind changing his diet, as I'd feel so bad if someone did catch an infection because of the raw food (although I'm still somewhat sceptical about the risks of that - I read the paper that PAT linked to as their reasoning, and it establishes that there is a risk, but I'd be interested to know how many people have ACTUALLY got a zoonotic infection from a raw-fed pet!).

To the posters who've had people trying to feed their dogs chocolate and other inappropriate foods - what did you do?! How much would I need to talk to the people? I'm assuming they'd be much more interested in my dog than me!

OP’s posts: |
coldlocation Sun 15-Apr-18 09:01:29

My DM has a PAT dog and is an assessor now. Her dog works mainly on a Brain Injury re hab ward and seems to enjoy doing it, he gets excited when told it's time to go to work and comes to have his PAT bandana and lead.

Said dog is a food motivated whippet but hasn't had any issues.

Orchardgreen Sun 15-Apr-18 09:02:29

You do need to have third party public liability insurance for your dog, but it's usually included in pet insurance anyway.

Sofabitch Sun 15-Apr-18 09:07:22

Nothing to add other than the pets as therapy dogs have brought my daughter so much happiness over the past 2 years in hospital.

confusednorthner Sun 15-Apr-18 10:04:50

We are registered with Canine Concern who do the same thing. I know a lot of people have come over to them from PAT as they don't exclude if you don't do yearly vaccinations / feed raw you just need to declare it on your forms so people you visit can make their own decisions.
We visit nursing homes and nurseries so far and some of their faces light up. I know some of our elderly people get no visitors and they love seeing him.

confusednorthner Sun 15-Apr-18 10:04:54

We are registered with Canine Concern who do the same thing. I know a lot of people have come over to them from PAT as they don't exclude if you don't do yearly vaccinations / feed raw you just need to declare it on your forms so people you visit can make their own decisions.
We visit nursing homes and nurseries so far and some of their faces light up. I know some of our elderly people get no visitors and they love seeing him.

Jon66 Sun 15-Apr-18 10:08:09

I understand that pat have had a few problems with relationships with their volunteers. Have you looked at therapy dogs nationwide.they don't appear to have those issues.

spiderplantsgalore Sun 15-Apr-18 10:50:04

Re the dogs being fed inappropriate stuff - at the nursing home I try to avoid cup of tea time as one or two kind souls try to feed her cake.

We haven't had chocolate, but I usually have a few small dog treats in my pocket for them to give her if they're persisting. It doesn't happen often though.

confusednorthner Sun 15-Apr-18 14:00:51

I intercepted a prune last week! Poor dog got a carrot stick instead.

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