Becoming a Member
Becoming a member of Ottawa Therapy Dogs (OTD) begins with supplying the information requested on the application form. The Volunteer Coordinator is available to answer any questions about the form, and about the process of becoming a working therapy team.
NEW Information Session
Those interested in the work of OTD are invited to attend a 1-hour Information session. We will be covering basic information about team (handler and dog) requirements; opportunities for volunteer work with OTD for those without a dog; and, be available to answer any questions you may have.
Advanced information ONLY for those who (1) have attended the Information session, and (2) have completed Member applications. We will be providing in depth knowledge about potential placements, advocacy for your dog (medical and security), grooming and liability. Should you decide to proceed to Evaluation with your dog you will be asked to provide the $25 evaluation fee at the end of the Orientation meeting. Some facilities require that therapy dog handlers attend an institutional volunteer training session, provide references and/or undergo additional police checks. (See: What to expect at an OTD orientation.)
OTD Evaluation (Ottawa Therapy Dogs Test Requirements)
Ottawa Therapy Dogs (OTD) requires that dog (must at least two years old and less than 11 to be evaluated) and handler (the team) pass an evaluation by an OTD Evaluator. Please bring a copy of a current rabies certificate to the Evaluation, and your membership fee of $40 to be provided to the Volunteer Coordinator following the successful evaluation. (See: What to expect at an OTD evaluation.)
After a successful evaluation, the Volunteer Coordinator will assist the new team in selecting a placement for therapy work, with the aim of finding a "good fit" and a rewarding experience for dog, handler and client(s). For the initial two visits, the handler accompanies an experienced therapy team, without bringing his/her own companion animal. Then the new team is accompanied by an experienced handler for two visits. This mentoring arrangement helps to support the new team in gaining skill and confidence in their work.
After the placement is underway, the Volunteer Coordinator is available to answer questions, help solve problems that may come up, or arrange for a change of placement or an expansion of duties, as needed. Handlers are required to inform the Coordinator if they wish to make changes in their placement
Ottawa Therapy Dogs meets during the year for information, orientation and evaluation sessions, as well as educational and social events. Members are invited to attend and help out at events.