What is P.E.T. P.A.L.S.?
“P.E.T. P.A.L.S.” is a combination of two acronyms:
Pets in Education and Therapy
People and Animals in Life Sharing
P.E.T. P.A.L.S. was organized in June 1983 in cooperation with the Cedar Bend Humane Society (formerly the Black Hawk Humane Society). P.E.T. P.A.L.S. is an all-volunteer Animal-Assisted Therapy and activities program. Trained volunteers log 10,000+ hours annually, visiting with the residents of public and private care facilities, hospitals, adult day care centers, group homes, schools, day cares and individuals within the Black Hawk County area. The animal partners in P.E.T. P.A.L.S. are personal pets of the volunteers. The pets are screened for health, temperament, and suitability as a “therapy” dog, cat, or other domestic species.
P.E.T. P.A.L.S. volunteers are assigned to either a “team” which visits a facility on a regular basis or an individual. The “teams” are guided by the social worker or activity director within the facility they are visiting. Other volunteers work individually on a case by case basis.
P.E.T. P.A.L.S. has provided a model for other animal-assisted therapy programs and continues to serve as a state-wide resource center. It offers guidelines and current information concerning issues about animal-assisted therapy, the human-companion animal bond, specific programs, and provides guest speakers on these topics.