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Each handler must be able to "sweep and scope" the setting before a visit, aware of situations to avoid and those that might need redirection. It is a good idea to always have a exit plan in mind. Being aware of the differences in each facility is essential. We love our pets, but to assume all do or can be coaxed into relaxation when stressed, is likely to surprise us and not in a pleasant way! The handler must be one who can keep negativity in it's place. Team handlers will, at some time or another, meet a person who does not understand the benefits of this type of volunteer work. It is important to accept this, as methods of persuasion usually could be met with a bit of unpleasantness! We must be able to be as intuitive as our
dogs are, and use our intelligence in order for this partnership to be effective.
"When we are with our pets, we remember a simpler time, even when much of our time here is far from simple. We try to find patterns to follow with every bend of the road, decide what to trust and what to fear. The companionship of our pets is the constant that carries us through."
-Terri Smith, Advisor
Our volunteers enjoy interaction with university students and staff during finals week and throughout the year. All are given individual attention in order to reduce stress.
After application has been made and the evaluation has been successful, the new volunteer team must complete at least one visit with the guidance of a H.A.L.O. mentor. Handlers then contact their preferred facility to fulfill requirements for volunteering. Often an orientation is required, and each partnering facility may have a dress code. Members set their visiting schedule. Teams are responsible to contact their resource person should they need to reschedule a visit. Each visit must be documented and forwarded to H.A.L.O.'s recorder, Marcia Bowermon, at email@example.com. Communication between facilities and team handlers is essential to a successful relationship. H.A.L.O. contacts most facilities monthly to insure all is well with all parties.
The prospective team enters the evaluation site just as if they are entering a facility for a visit, and proper wear is required for both handler and dog. A well groomed presence is necessary. Slip, prong, or pinch collars are prohibited, as are retractable leashes. Handler and pet are directed through a series of exercises followed by an interview. The evaluator watches closely to see how the handler and pet respond to one another as several distractions are introduced. Reliability and consistency of the team is of extreme importance. Expectations are high, as volunteers must understand they are representing animal assisted therapy and activities in the community. Professional behavior and confidentiality is expected by teams at all times. This doesn’t mean “fun” isn’t allowed; on the contrary, flexibility and enjoying one’s work are essential to a team’s success and the health and welfare of all.
Intake Coordinator, Natalie Cunningham (firstname.lastname@example.org) will receive initial membership forms from prospective team handlers. This begins the application process leading to the scheduled assessment. The member application form found under the Member Information tab at this site, rules and regulations form, and the photography policy form must be completed, signed, dated, scanned and sent in an email attachment to Ms. Cunningham for review. Veterinarian reports must be scanned and sent to be reviewed as well, and must show all required vaccinations, a current (within four months) fecal, and a statement from the attending veterinarian regarding the animal's disposition and temperament. A crisp photograph of the dog must be sent for the photo ID. The new member's background check authorization form will then be sent via email by the new member coordinator to the applicant. It must be completed before the evaluation is scheduled. The cost for the background check is $15.00, made payable to H.A.L.O. This check must be sent to H.A.L.O.'s treasurer before the background check can be conducted. When a check comes back "clean," then Ms. Cunningham notifies the prospective team to schedule the assessment.
501c3, 170b Charitable Foundation
Tango is often on sight at The Military Welcome Center, bringing a peace and calm to our servicemen and women.
The H.A.L.O. yellow vest is automatically a welcome sight for those many people who need relief in the form of a great dog. It can be and often is the best prescription for health one can receive!
H.A.L.O. dogs must be a member of the family. This pet partner must be drawn toward people and able to make himself at home in many facilities. The emphasis must be on the individual animal, as each situation is different. Common sense demands obedience as a factor, along with proper hygiene and veterinarian care. Animals are evaluated as the individuals they are. The evaluator must be able to see beyond and look for the wealth each potential team can offer in many different environments.
Marcia and Zeke take time to participate in "Walk for Life." It's all about contributing, and there is nothing better than doing so with your well-mannered and people-centered pet partner at your side.
Our H.A.L.O. handlers and pets take their positions as volunteers very seriously, whether at community events, or in XJ's case, spending time with military men and women at The Military Center. Beverly acts as her pet partner's advocate by making sure she plans for water and stress breaks