Many people have wonderful pets they want to share with others. It takes hard work, training and dedication.

It’s important that teams are properly screened and qualified to work with patients and children. They need special skills and education to conduct visits safely and effectively. Here is the process: 

All domesticated animals who can pass the Team Evaluation are eligible to become Pet Partners. Wild or exotic animals – including snakes, ferrets, and lizards – are not eligible. 
The person handling the animal (handlers) must be at least 10 years old. Handlers younger than 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian and must have written permission to participate from a parent or guardian. 
People who do not have an animal may also register as Pet Partners. 
All animals except birds must have lived in the owner’s home for at least 6 months. Birds must have lived in the owner’s home for at least 1 year. 
All animals except “pocket pets” must be at least 1 year at the time the animal is evaluated. Pocket pets (guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, etc.) must be at least 6 months at the time the animal is evaluated. 
Dogs trained to aggressively protect and/or encouraged to actively bite may not be Pet Partners. 

Step 1: Your Animal’s Training
We do not train your pet for you. Your pet must already have excellent obedience skills. Put them in school if they are not already trained. Dogs must know the cues to sit, stay, lie down, come when called and leave it. They must walk politely on a leash and not jump on people. 
Both cats and dogs must show no more than a casual interest in the evaluator dog during the Reaction to Another Dog test. They must be social, outgoing and confident in new situations and environments. They must enjoy being touched all over their bodies by strangers. They must enjoy exuberant or clumsy petting without shyness, fear or becoming overly excited so that they could pose a danger to a frail patient. They must not be afraid of health care equipment or loud noises and of course show no aggression to people or other animals. 

Step 2: Your Training
Your next step is to take the one day training workshop ( or an online course from Pet Partners ( The fee is the same for either, $70.

Step 3: Animal Health Screening
In order to become Pet Partners, animals need to be healthy, friendly, sociable, and up-to-date (as required by your veterinarian) on vaccinations. Proof of rabies vaccination and fecal exam with results must be included in your animal’s health screening. 

Step 4: Team Evaluation
Compassionate Paws, Inc. has a Team Evaluator come to Rome, GA to evaluate Pet Partner Teams periodically. Once the study course is completed, the animal is well trained, health screening is done, and paperwork completed, it is time for the Evaluation. The testing takes about 30-45 minutes. The expectations for the testing are clearly spelled out in the Manual. The Evaluation Fee is $35 to the charity of choice of the Evaluator. 

Step 5: Registration
Once the evaluation is complete, send all paperwork along with registration fee to Pet Partners. Two year Pet Partner Registration fees vary from $150 - $40. The fee covers your photo ID, pet tag, newsletter and $2,000,000 liability insurance.