The Animal Humane Society's Animal Ambassadors are volunteers who, along with their pets, provide animal-assisted therapy and activities to people throughout the Twin Cities metro area of Minnesota. Through visits with schools, community organizations, residents in nursing homes, hospitals, and other facilities, these unique volunteers bring comfort, learning, and fun to the people they reach.
In addition to regular therapy visiting, the Animal Ambassadors group meets for social time and learning opportunities.
Not just for dogs
When many people hear the phrase "animal-assisted therapy," they immediately think of therapy dogs. But therapy work isn't just for dogs — domestic animals of almost any kind can be therapy animals, including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, miniature horses, and more!
Joining the Animal Ambassadors
To become an Animal Ambassador, you must complete the following steps (Minnesota residents only):
- Apply to Become a Volunteer. Because Animal Ambassadors are Animal Humane Society volunteers, therapy owner-pet teams interested in joining the group must complete an application process and be approved as Animal Humane Society volunteers. Apply here.
- Train For Therapy Work. Dogs must have their Canine Good Citizen certificate and complete a Therapy Dog training program. Cats, rabbits, and other small animals must complete a four-week training program offered by the AHS training school.
- Become a Registered Therapy Team. Upon completing the appropriate training program, teams must pass an evaluation exam and become registered with the Pet Partners. Registration demonstrates that you have the necessary handling and visiting skills for therapy work, and that your pet has the training and temperament to be safe and comfortable in a therapy visiting environment. Registration also provides you with liability insurance coverage in case of an incident during a visit.
- Agree To Be an Active Member of the Animal Ambassadors. Members must also commit to a regular schedule of volunteering, and to attending at least three group meetings each year.
To learn more about animal-assisted therapy, join us for an upcoming Intro to Therapy Animals Class. You'll learn what makes a good therapy animal, what kind of training is required to get started, and what you can do with your therapy skills once you've become a registered animal therapy team. This one-hour program is free, but registration is required. (Humans only, please; pets should stay at home.)
For more information, call 763-489-2217 or contact the Training school online. Upcoming class dates can also be found on the Therapy Animal page.