Become a Delta Therapy Dog Volunteer
Our volunteers and their amazing therapy dogs are the most valued members of our organisation.
You and your dog will make a Delta Team and bring much needed smiles and joy to people who need it most.
What we look for in a Delta Therapy Dog Team
A dog who is over 18 months and under 10 years old
A dog with an obedient and sociable temperament
A volunteer who enjoys talking with people of different backgrounds about their dog
A volunteer who has an hour or two to spare every week
A dog and volunteer who enjoy spending time together and with others
A volunteer who is interested in giving back to their local community
Step 1: Is your four legged friend ready?
Is your dog fully vaccinated?
Does your dog walk nicely beside you without pulling on the lead?
Can your dog walk on a lead using a soft collar? It's important to note visits cannot be conducted with a dog wearing head collars, anti-pull harnesses or flexi leads.
Will your dog “sit” and “drop” when asked?
Can your dog sit politely and accept a pat from a friendly stranger?
Can your dog walk through a crowd with minimal reaction or distraction?
Does your dog show little reaction to clumsy and heavy patting?
Will your dog take food gently?
Can your dog walk past another dog and show no more than a passing interest?
Do you have a relationship with your dog for them to listen and understand what you need from them?
If you answered yes to all these questions, then volunteering with Delta could be the next chapter for you and your dog's friendship.
Step 2: Submit your expression of interest
If you feel that you and your dog would make a perfect Delta Therapy Dog Team and can commit to the time, please fill out our Expression of Interest form in time for the next intake in your area.
Step 3: Attend assessment and training
To become a Delta Therapy Team, your dog must pass a temperament assessment undertaken by a Delta accredited positive reward-based dog trainer. You will also need to attend compulsory volunteer training before receiving a facility placement.
Once we receive your expression of interest, we will contact you about the next assessment and training sessions being run in your area. These are generally held over the course of a weekend, Saturdays being assessment day, and Sundays being training day.
Step 4: Placement and commencing visits
Once you have passed your assessment and attended training, we will match you with a facility. We'll support you through the orientation process and commencing your visits.
Step 5: Ongoing visits
Congratulations, you will now be making regular scheduled visits to your facility! During this time you'll be offered regular training, and asked to report to Delta about your visits. Our State Co-ordinators are there to support you whenever you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does each visit last?
We ask that all visits are of 60 - 90 minutes duration. This should be suitable for the comfort level of your dog, while allowing the opportunity to maximise the benefits of pet therapy.
What if my dog is sick?
The comfort and wellbeing of your dog is of paramount importance. If you dog is too ill to attend a scheduled visit, you should contact your local branch coordinator and/or facility to cancel the visit until your dog is feeling well again.
How often do I need to visit my assigned facility?
Generally, visits occur weekly or fortnightly. The volunteer and facility can discuss an appropriate day and time to schedule the regular visits. However generally visits are conducted between 9-5 on weekdays and weekends.
What if I can't make my scheduled visit? What about when I go on holidays?
If you envisage that you will miss more than 3 consecutive visits you should notify your co-ordinator and she will contact your allocated facility to advise them.
What happens during a visit?
It depends on the facility. We recommend you discuss options with the coordinator at your assigned facility. We have teams who visit patients and residents in their rooms for a bedside chat and pat, while other teams will visit residents in a common room. Generally volunteers and their dogs will visit and talk with residents and patients, offer a hug, and a paw to shake. Many facilities are also happy for your dog to jump up onto beds for an extra long cuddle.
Can I choose the facility I visit?
We will work with you to ensure you are happy with the facility you are assigned. For example, you are able to specifially express interest in a dementia facility or mental health facility for example. This, however, will be determined by the availability of facilities participating in the program.
How far will I have to travel to get to my allocated facility?
We aim to assign facilities no more than 20 minutes travelling time from the volunteer's home, unless you have chosen a specific facility.
I work full time - are there still opportunities for me to volunteer?
Some of the facilities our therapy dogs visit are flexible and allow weekend visits.
Don't have a dog but would love to volunteer with Delta?
Contact one of our 14 Therapy Dogs Branches across Australia to find out about volunteer opportunities.