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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you have animals for adoption or provide an adoption service?
No. Each of our volunteers uses his or her own pet for their pet-assisted therapy work. We do not have any kind of adoption service, placement or shelter available.

What animals are allowed for therapy work?
Membership is only available to dogs, cats and rabbits that pass our temperament tests. Other animals are not permitted in the medical settings where we work.

Does my dog need special training to be a Therapy Dog?
No. Your dog needs to have passed a “Basic Obedience” course with you and have the temperament to be involved in this type of program. For specific information about our testing process, visit Pet/Handler Evaluation

Is obedience training provided by Happy Tails?
No, the selection of a trainer is your personal choice. Happy Tails does not recommend certain specific trainers or training facilities.

How is the pet testing different for cats and rabbits?
Cats and rabbits are tested for general demeanor, not responsiveness to commands.

Where are the visits?
Happy Tails visits are located around the metro Atlanta area. You may find that we visit a facility just a few miles away from you live...or you may drive 30 minutes to a facility that best suits you and your pet or has an opening.

How long is a visit and how often?
Most visits are one hour long. Some are scheduled twice a month, some monthly and a few weekly. However, even if you are interested in a facility that has weekly visits, you may choose to only visit once a month if you prefer.

Do you have your choice of facility and visiting days/times?
Yes. We try to match you and your pet with the kind of facility you would like to visit, the days and times that you are available and at a location that is convenient for you.

What are the required health clearances for animals and their owners?
Happy Tails pets are expected to have basic vaccinations and health exams specific to their species. An annual health update is required. Our veterinary standards are explained at Orientation. We do not currently require our human members to meet any health requirements, except where required by the facility we visit.

How involved can I become?
As much as you want. Each Happy Tails volunteer decides how many visits he or she can do. Members are encouraged to visit at least once a month and are required to make at least one visit every six months.

Can children go on visits?
No. All volunteers and visitors must be at least 18 years of age. But children can and do attend many of the Happy Tails parties like the Spring Picnic, the Fall Chili Cookoff and the Atlanta Children’s Healthcare Christmas Parade.

Can you provide research information regarding pet therapy and it's benefits?
We are not a research group and do not have any scientific data regarding the effects of our work, just the stories of our success. You can find these under Happy Tales, or you are invited to contact us for further information.