Register as a KPETS Therapy Team

Most pet owners know the joy of sharing their life with a furry friend.  KPETS volunteers have found sharing our pets with others to be a rewarding activity for us and our pets, as well as those we see.  It’s a win-win-win situation!  If you love spending time with your pet, and your pet loves meeting new people and going new places, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to give to those in need!

KPETS volunteers share their pet with others, KPETS does not provide Emotional Support Pet accreditation for individuals and their pet . Click here for great info about the differences.


If sharing you pet with others sounds like what you’d like to do, click on the link below and fill out the pre-orientation forms. Join the more than 350 volunteer teams providing over 8000 pet therapy visits every year to over 200 facilities, throughout Central Pennsylvania as well as in communities in Maryland.

Here are some examples of where our teams go:

  1. Long-term care facilities,
  2. Hospices,
  3. Reading Programs – where children with reading problems read one-on-one with you and your dog.  The non-judgmental dog helps to relax and encourage the student to read.  It becomes fun.  Attitudes change and reading skills improve,
  4. Physical, Occupational and Speech therapy – Dogs can  motivate patients of all ages during their therapy appointments,
  5. Work with special needs children and at-risk teens in multiple ways,
  6. Complement group rehab sessions with adults, teens or children.

There are Four Steps to Becoming a Registered KPETS Therapy Team:

1. Attend an Orientation Class

Orientations are held in Lancaster,  York, Lebanon, Mohnton (Berks Co) and Littlestown (Adams Co), PA and  in Westminster, MD.

An application fee of $35 per handler is charged to cover administrative costs, including handouts and other expenses.  However, after completing  the registration process, this fee is applied to the current year’s dues.

The orientation session is approximately three hours long and provides information about KPETS’ mission, services, what the expectations are for the pet and handlers, and what to expect when you go on visits.  We also provide information about the many opportunities available and how you and your pet can get involved.

Junior Handler*:

 Minimum age for handlers is 18.

*Younger volunteers between the ages of 14 to 17 may handle their therapy dog, but a parent or guardian must be present and available as backup to step in should an unexpected situation arise. The parent must be a registered KPETS Team with the same dog. If allowing a Junior Handler to handle the dog, they may not have another pet with them. They are needed to focus totally on the junior team to insure safety for all.

*If they are under 16, they will need a letter of recommendation from a professional trainer or another KPETS volunteer. This will need to be forwarded to KPETS for pre-approval prior to registering for a Group Evaluation.

*The junior handler must complete the entire registration process:

Prior to orientation, please fill out these Pre-Orientation Forms and bring them with you to the class.  Please, no pets or young children at this session.

Click here for dates and locations and to register for a KPETS Orientation

2. Therapy Dog Group Evaluation –

Following orientation, each team is required to complete a KPETS Group Evaluation (pre-assessment).  This step is to see if the team is ready for an actual visit or if more training or socialization may be needed.  During the evaluation, you and your dog will be asked to demonstrate basic obedience:  sit, stay, down and walking on a loose lead.  We also observe how the pet reacts to crowds, other dogs, rough petting, loud noises, wheelchairs or walkers, etc.  Our trained evaluators will provide guidance in specific areas, as needed.  If an issue cannot be resolved during the workshop, the evaluator will make suggestions on what needs to be worked on.  We encourage practicing their suggestions, and trying again at a later date.  We are all trainable!   Group Evaluations are held in Lancaster, Mt. Joy, Mountville, Denver York, lebanon,  Littlestown, PA, and in Westminster, MD.

For those of you who feel your pet may need additional work before participating in the actual evaluation, several local trainers are offering a class to prepare your dog to be a therapy dog. The classes are not mandatory.  It’s intended for teams who feel they can benefit from a bit more practice.

3. Visit Evaluations 

After completion of a successful group evaluation, you will join us on two actual visits with one of our evaluators for on-the-job training and evaluation.  To confirm the team’s readiness for registration, it is highly recommended that different evaluators be used for each visit .


4. You’re Ready for Registration!

After all the above steps are successfully met, all required paperwork needs to be completed and submitted for processing.  You will then receive a certificate of completion and your official KPETS name tag.  You will also receive a letter instating your liability insurance for coverage through September 15.

Please note:  KPETS has adopted a policy to comply with the new PA law regarding Background Checks. Getting the required Background Checks is something you can start at any time.  KPETS will need copies of your background checks on file before we can complete your registration process.