Volunteer with Delta Therapy Dogs
A unique volunteer opportunity where you get to spend time with your dog and contribute to your community - apply now to join the Delta family!
Being a Therapy Dog Team allows you to share the joy of your dog with others by volunteering to deliver our programs in-person or online.
Our nearly 1,200 volunteers and their dogs support program beneficiaries in Delta's partnering schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, youth services, mental health services, correctional facilities, and other health and community services right across Australia. Our volunteers also provide digital programs to facilities and vulnerable individuals isolated at home - a perfect volunteer role for dogs who are too young, too old, or who would prefer to lounge out at home to share their antics rather than join our in-person programs.
What does volunteering involve?
As a Therapy Dog Team you will generally volunteer your time to deliver our programs on a weekly or fortnightly basis. While each session is no longer than 90 minutes in the facility, including preparation (eg. washing and grooming) and travel time, your total time commitment is approximately 3 hours.
In most instances our partner facilities request that Delta's programs are delivered by our volunteers during weekdays (Mon-Fri) and in business hours (9am-5pm). The occasional weekend placement might be available, but this is rare and at the discretion of the facility.
We also have volunteer roles available in the Delta Therapy Digi-Dogs Program, a unique opportunity for those people whose dogs don't quite meet the criteria for our in-person programs, or for volunteers looking for more flexibility in their volunteer role.
Delta Therapy Dogs goes through a rigorous matching process to find you and your dog just the right placement in one of our partner schools or facilities.
Depending on the needs of the facility and its program beneficiaries you could find yourself spending time with an older person, supporting a young man with his rehabilitation after an accident, reading with a student, distracting a child while their wound dressings are changed, renewing hope for someone struggling with their mental health or contributing to the rehabilitation of an inmate in incarceration.
It is our experience that volunteers and their dogs build meaningful relationships with program beneficiaries, and your sessions are a highly anticipated weekly event.
"It was a very heart-warming [session] and there was no doubt that this program adds value, variety and enhances the day-to-day lives of the residents... and we get a huge amount of pleasure so is a WIN/WIN!" - Sydney-based Delta Therapy Dogs Volunteer.
Are my dog and I suitable to become a Therapy Dog Team?
It is really important for you, your dog and the people who benefit from Delta's programs that we ensure it is a great match for everyone. Not all dogs enjoy or actively seek out attention from strangers and this is entirely normal.
What we look for in a Delta Therapy Dog Team:
A dog who is over 18 months and under 9 years of age;
A dog who is attentive and responsible to instruction, with basic obedience;
A dog who seeks out attention from strangers;
A volunteer who is committed to using only positive reinforcement methods of dog training;
A volunteer who enjoys engaging with a wide range of people;
A volunteer who can provide a consistent weekly or fortnightly commitment;
A dog and volunteer who has passion for the work undertaken by Delta Therapy Dogs; and
A dog and volunteer who have a strong positive relationship.
"Everyone was so excited to get a visit, and were ready and waiting. The first patient we saw had had bad news earlier in the day, and when she got [to] cuddle [the dog] she said "her day had brightened up, and thank you for the good work we do" - Melbourne-based Delta Therapy Dogs Volunteer.
What if we are interested but not quite ready?
Your dog may be suitable for a Therapy Dog role, but not quite ready. If this is the case we can connect you to a Delta accredited trainer for some additional training support.
The Delta Institute is the accrediting body for positive reinforcement trainers who have undertaken the national accredited training course conducted by Delta.
Click here to find a trainer in your area.
What is involved in the recruitment process?
If after reading the Assessment process and selection criteria, you feel that you and your dog are ready and suited to the role of Therapy Dog Team with Delta, we invite you to submit your Expression of Interest.
The recruitment process flows as follows:
When is the next Assessment Day in my area?
Delta Therapy Dogs generally conducts Assessment Days on a quarterly basis in the bigger regions, and half-yearly Assessment Days in our smaller regions. However this is always very dependent on applicant and facility waitlists, meaning any of the Assessment Days could be more or less frequent depending on the identified need in the region.
Please note that the schedule for up-coming Assessment Days is not fixed due to the on-going challenges with COVID-19, and that only those applicants who have submitted their application will be advised on the final dates. However the approximate dates for the next Assessment Day in each region is as follows:
Assessment Day Dates
Aug & Nov 2022
Hunter / Central Coast, NSW
Aug & Nov 2022
Aug & Nov 2022
Sep 2022 & Feb 2023
Albury, NSW / Wodonga, VIC
Aug & Nov 2022
Oct 2022 & June 2023
Aug 2022 & Mar 2023
Nov 2022 & May 2023
I'd like to submit an expression of interest
If you have reviewed the suitability criteria click below to complete an expression of interest and a member of the team will contact you.
If you are interested but unable to attend the next Assessment Day, you can still complete an expression of interest and we will keep in touch about future opportunities.