Request Teams for a Stress Release Clinic

Stress release at finals time

The use of therapy animals in stress release clinics has become popular on college and university campuses, and is now becoming increasingly popular with high schools and businesses.

In educational institutions, these clinics are used primarily to reduce stress and depression in students undertaking particularly difficult curriculums or studying for final exams. Visits with therapy animals serve as a healthy means of stress relief.

Businesses most often hold stress release clinics during difficult periods in their business cycle, for example an accounting firm might hold a clinic during tax season.

We are pleased to support stress release clinics by announcing them to area teams in an effort to recruit teams to participate. If you would like us to request teams for your event, please let us know that you have read, understand and accept the following:

Advertising Your Event in Our Newsletter:  Please inform us of your event as far in advance as possible. Most teams are very busy, and the greater the advance notice, the more likely they will be able to participate.

In order to advertise your event, we require the following information:

Organization name

Facility address

Date(s) and time(s) of event

Parking information

Contact name

Contact title

Phone number and/or e-mail address

You may provide additional information such as an event title and description if you wish.

Post Your Request on the Pet Partners National Website:  Not all area teams subscribe to our newsletter. You may be able to reach additional teams by posting your request on the Pet Partners national website.

Post your request via the Submit a Volunteer Opportunity page on the Pet Partners national website. Teams will be able to find your request via a zip code search.

Scheduling Events:  Most high schools, colleges and universities hold their events during finals weeks. Therefore if you are a business and can be flexible with your scheduling, please check with us to see what events are already on our list so that you can consider scheduling around them.

Scheduling Teams:  Pet Partners teams are allowed to work for only 2 hours per day, so you'll need to schedule teams accordingly.

Also keep in mind that therapy animals have to be bathed and groomed before visiting, and that teams may then have to travel a long distance to your event. Therefore teams will be less inclined to participate for very short periods of time.

Student Contacts:  We are happy to work directly with students, but we require that in a student's initial communication with us they identify a faculty member who will be copied on all correspondence.

Space Requirements:  If there will be multiple teams in one location, be sure to allow plenty of room for each team. This way the dogs will be able to give their attention to those they are visiting, and won't be distracted by other dogs.

 Crowd Control:  If your event will have a large number of participants, it is important to consider crowd control, as too many participants can overwhelm a team. It may work well to have participants form lines, and allow only a certain number to approach a team at one time.

At crowded events, it's also an excellent idea to have a volunteer perform crowd control for each team, so the handler can concentrate on their dog and the participants.

And at businesses, it may work well to use sign-up sheets. Or ask that different departments come at different times, with a note that exceptions are okay. Otherwise employees tend to come all at once at the beginning of the event.

Registered Dogs Only:  We recommend that only registered therapy dogs participate, as when participants are allowed to bring their own animals they are not always well-behaved. We would like to know if you will be allowing animals other than registered therapy dogs to participate.

No Puppies:  To ensure safety, Pet Partners therapy dogs are a minimum of one year old, and most are much older. Please don't advertise "Come see the puppies!" There will be disappointment all the way around.

Parking:  Therapy dog teams contribute their time as volunteers and do not charge for their services. In return, we don't ask our teams to pay parking fees. If ample free parking is not available, parking passes or even specific instructions to help our teams avoid parking fees will help to recruit teams.

Photos:  It will help attract more teams to your future events if we can include a photo or two in our newsletter. Teams don't normally take photos themselves because the requirement to complete photo release forms would distract from our visiting. But if you can provide photos we can share, that would be most helpful.

The best photos show teams in action. They include the handler and dog visiting with clients, and the photo is not posed with everyone looking at the camera. And as always, the handler must be holding the leash.

Needing More Teams:  Let us know if fewer teams are responding to your request than you would like. It will also help if you can let us know which teams participated in your event, so that we can notify them personally if you are coming up short for a future event.

We look forward to working with you!

Peter Christensen

Therapy dogs at work at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette