A therapy dog provides comfort, compassion, and distraction to patients, families, and staff in a variety of settings.
Service Dogs have extensive training to perform tasks needed to assist one person/handler with whatever disabilities they have, such as giving help with dressing, detecting oncoming seizures, or alerting a person with PTSD to situations that might trigger anxiety to prevent inappropriate reactions.
Therapy Dogs are trained to help people other than their handlers, providing comfort and distraction. They help reduce anxiety by their presence, actions, and through the sense of touch.
SCCV does not register certified service dogs. Working service dogs already have a job, and it is to be totally focused on the person utilizing the dog’s specific skill set. Asking the dog to ‘moonlight’ as a therapy dog is unfair to the service dog and the person being served.
Retired service dogs and dogs who do not complete service dog training often make great therapy dogs and are welcome to participate in an evaluation.
SCCV teams serve more than 35 facilities in the Albuquerque metro area, Rio Rancho, the East Mountains, and Santa Fe. Special community outreach events take place statewide.
Though each dog must go through the entire training process with its handler, several members have two or more therapy dogs. This allows the handler to visit more facilities more frequently. However, only one therapy dogs is permitted for each visit.
Members may take another dog through training after the previous dog graduates and has been visiting for at least one year.
No, not under SCCV's auspices.
A dog and handler may only represent themselves as an SCCV team at facilities or special events which have been approved and insured by SCCV.
If my dog or I have a physical disability, are we disqualified?
A registered SCCV team must be able to maintain safety for the dog, handler, and for those visited, without assistance. Teams will only be disqualified if the handler’s physical disability would impede this safety expectation.
SCCV has an outstanding reputation within the community. Many of the facilities and events our volunteers visit are restricted to SCCV members because of our reputation for well-trained and well-behaved dogs and our emphasis on the safety of our dogs and the people they meet.
"SCCV veterans" provide tips and suggestions as well as Team Development sessions. We have established facilities that welcome us offering an "open door" for our visits. We also provide insurance for handlers and dogs registered with SCCV. The facilities are aware of this insurance and of the safety of all when we visit.
Volunteering with SCCV provides the opportunity to meet new friends with like interests and goals for serving the community. We present social events throughout the year for dogs and members, recognize our members with hours awards, and recognize teams who have successfully completed the Team Development Program at a Graduation Party.
SCCV has an informative online newsletter to maintain continuity among members which includes entertaining and important updates.
Members are required to report a minimum of 36 hours of service per year to remain "active in good standing". Service which supports SCCV may include activities other than visiting facilities, such as administrative service. We recognize that often "life" interferes with volunteer activities, and we make allowances and adaptations for teams undergoing such situations.
Annual Dues are $25 for a single membership, $37.50 for a family membership.
Annual Insurance Fees are $25 for the first dog and $5 for each additional dog.
Members are also responsible for any veterinary fees associated with meeting health certificate requirements. This might include exam and vaccination fees, which are variable for each pet healthcare provider.
Both dog and handler will be evaluated separately and together because their success in pet therapy depends on their individual characteristics and the way they work together as a team.
Once you have successfully completed evaluations and the two separate classroom development sessions, you have four months to finish your team development visits at designated training facilities.
There is a $30 SCCV Team Development fee. For current members, the fee is $20.
Some dogs may require additional help from a dog obedience school. Dog owners are responsible for any additional outside training costs.
A therapy dog must be at least one year old. Some breeds mature later than others and will need more development before they are ready.