Volunteer

Happy Tails Pet Therapy needs you to share a smile and the healing power of your pet as a member of our handler/pet teams who visit at metro Atlanta healthcare facilities, social agencies, and special-needs programs. As Atlanta’s oldest and largest nonprofit animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and animal-assisted activity (AAA) organization, Happy Tails serves people of all ages with physical, social, emotional and cognitive needs in a variety of settings.

The interaction between humans and animals provides a positive, rewarding experience for clients, volunteers, and their pets. The unconditional love and acceptance given by Happy Tails animals ease the pain of clients who miss their home, their family, or perhaps a personal pet.

Special Experiences

Happy Tails volunteers know what a difference pets make. Pets make us laugh and remind us of what's important. They relieve our stress and distract us from the hectic pace of everyday life. Imagine what a rewarding experience it is to share your pet with someone in physical or emotional pain. You may select from many facilities, schedules, and experiences.

Your Time Commitment

Most visits last one hour and are scheduled for a specific day and time each month, such as the first Saturday at 10 a.m. As a Happy Tails volunteer, your first commitment will be to the people you visit and to your team. They will count on you to make your scheduled visits or to find a substitute if you have a conflict. If you find that your schedule changes or your pet's needs change, you can drop out of a team at any time. However, we count on you to give your team leader at least a month's notice and to find a substitute for any visit you cannot make.

We encourage everyone to make at least one visit each month. Some Happy Tails members make one or two visits a month, while others make five or more. You may choose to be a substitute for the first several months so that you can visit a variety of facilities and then decide what visits suit your pet.

We also make special visits to facilities that are not currently Happy Tails clients. You can sign up for these visits when you read the announcements in the member newsletter.

Membership Guidelines

Membership is open to pet owners with dogs, cats and/or rabbits. Members are required to complete or meet the following requirements prior to application:

  • Are you 18 years of age or older?
  • Has your pet lived with you or the handler for at least 6 months and is at least one year of age for dogs and cats, and six months for rabbits?
  • Is your pet from a household where all pets are fed a diet free from raw animal protein?
  • If you plan to join with your dog, will you attend or have you already successfully completed a Basic Obedience Course?
  • Are you willing to attend a one-hour orientation?
  • Are you willing to complete a two-hour volunteer training session prior to joining?
  • Are you willing to attend a Happy Tails visit without your pet to observe a current team?

If your answer is “Yes” to all of the above requirements, we invite you to come to our next one-hour orientation! You will receive an application packet and learn about the organization and our evaluation process. We will also explain the immunizations and veterinary exams that we require.

For more information, come to one of our Orientation sessions and ask one of the Happy Tails volunteers about you and your pet joining Happy Tails!