Our therapy pet partners work with their individual owners to spread love and good cheer. Our pets are mostly dogs, (although some extraordinary cats and rabbits also want this job). All pets must be people oriented!!!
Breed, shape, color and size are not important! Personality counts... they must be calm, stable, even-tempered, good-natured and able to accept handling by other people. Primarily, the ideal therapy pet should enjoy interacting with a wide variety of people!
Prior to application for membership, dogs must be solid on basic obedience while wearing a buckle collar or harness. They must be calm in the presence of other animals.Cats should show the important traits of a laid-back, steady, calm personality and a tolerance for the unusual.
Love on a Leash therapy pets are NOT service animals and may visit only places to which they have been invited. This must never be abused. Our chapter does not train service dogs or emotional support dogs.
Therapy pets must be a minimum of 1 year old. If it is a rescue or a rehomed pet it is HIGHLY recommended that the pet has been with the owner a minimum of 6 months. Upper age limits are considered on an individual basis.
LOAL pets are insured ONLY while working in a volunteer capacity. They may not be utilized as a therapy pet in the course of the handler's employment (such as a teachers, counselors, or psychologists who wish to use a therapy pet in a professional capacity).
Our human volunteers are amazing and dedicated individuals who are able and willing to make the following commitments:
Meet all mandatory training requirements for both the national organization as well as additional chapter training sessions. Must be at least 18 years old (junior handlers aged 16 may be considered but must be under supervision of an adult guardian at all times. Guardian must also complete all training requirements).
Participate actively as a pet therapy team, spreading the special joy that only those furry friends can provide.
Honor scheduled visits as serious commitments; the clients we visit so look forward to their pet visits, and are quite disappointed if visits must be cancelled.
Maintain a high standard of obedience training with their canine partners
Maintain the highest standard of grooming as our pets will be representing both our chapter and national organization.
Communicate regularly with chapter membership via email; & make genuine attempts to attend 2 to 3 yearly meetings
Make sure your pet wants the job & is ready: Obedience skills MUST be solid while working on a buckle collar or harness (no pinch or choke collars allowed). Every potential Love on a Leash team must pass the nationally required Control Evaluation, administered by a qualified trainer. Many of our teams have achieved the AKC Canine Good Citizen Award as preparation for Love on a Leash requirements. Please ensure sure your pet is the type that will truly enjoy going out & about and interacting with a wide variety of people, often in the presence of other animals (other LOAL pets, service animals or animals visiting clients at a facility). Not every pet wants this sort of job... just like people, pets each have their unique personalities and comfort zones.
Make sure you want the job and can make the needed commitment.
In addition to meeting national requirements, the St. Louis Chapter of Love on a Leash offers screening and training opportunities (no fee for this), usually one time per week for 6 to 8 weeks where teams are provided coaching sessions for practice and roleplay in the safety of a supportive training environment. In addition, a day long training seminar without pets is offered. Trainees participate in a minimum of 10 mentored visits with an approved supervisor at preapproved sites. Finally, approval and registration with national Love on a Leash completes the process. Our chapter Love on a Leash training / coaching sessions are only available to St. Louis Chapter trainees. Enrollment in training sessions is limited; classes are offered normally once or twice per year, usually on a week night.
Contact Us: Please send us a message using the contact form.
Detailed information will be emailed to you.