Any questions that you may have or that are not covered here, can be answered by your local Team Leader.  Please visit our Team Leader page for a team located near you.

1. What is Therapeutic Paws of Canada (TPOC)?

We are a national non-profit volunteer organization providing dog and cat visitation resources for human needs.  We bring those that have been separated from their beloved pet the opportunity to once again enjoy the love and companionship of a dog or cat.

2. Who runs the organization?

The Chair and Board of Directors direct the organization.  In addition, there are numerous Team Leaders and Evaluators.  All TPOC members are volunteers with the exception of a nominal fee paid to the bookkeeper.

3. Who pays to run the organization?

TPOC is wholly dependent upon donations and a portion of the Team Administration Fee.

4. Do you train therapy dogs?

We do not provide training – our teams consist of a volunteer with their own pet dog or cat. In our experience pet therapy animals are usually born with the required temperament though some basic obedience skills are required.

5. How do you determine that the volunteer and dog/cat are suitable for your various programs?

Each handler and dog/cat must successfully pass the Therapy Evaluation.  The handler must be willing to submit to a vulnerable person police check, supply three references and both the handler and pet must demonstrate appropriate visiting skills at subsequent monitored visits.

6. My dog is great with children and that is who I want to visit.

Each handler and dog/cat that interacts with children in hospitals, schools, libraries etc. must participate in the Interaction with Children evaluation and have passed the Therapy Dog Evaluation.  They must have visiting experience with seniors prior to participating in this evaluation.

7. I had a police records check done when I joined a charity two months ago, can I use the same police records check for TPOC?

Because we visit vulnerable populations (i.e. elderly people and children) each member must have a vulnerable person police records search completed.  TPOC will accept a police check done on behalf of another organization if completed within the last 12 months and it must clearly indicate that it was a vulnerable person records search.  Along with a copy of this type of police certification, the volunteer must sign a TPOC Confirmation form.

8. I have a police record conviction from 20 years ago, can I still join TPOC?

No.  TPOC does not allow anyone with a criminal record to join, regardless of the type of conviction, length of time from the conviction or the circumstances surrounding the conviction.

9. If my dog growls what should I do?

If a dog growls or shows signs of aggression or fear during a Therapy Evaluation, the dog will be dismissed from the evaluation.

10. How long are the visits?

Understandably there is a time commitment required whether an hour a week or every two weeks, we ask that our volunteers commit to a schedule that works with their busy lives.  This commitment can be discussed in depth with their local Team Leader.

11. Can I let my dog/cat visit for TPOC off leash?

Even the most wonderful dog/cat is a hazard off leash in a setting with frail, elderly people.  For example, a person who is legally blind could easily trip over a dog/cat that is standing in front of or behind the person.  Always think of the safety and well being or the people you are visiting.

12. My dog always wears a harness.  He doesn’t like a collar.  Can he wear his harness visiting?

To keep the TPOC Evaluation fair to all breeds, each dog must be evaluated under the same conditions – flat buckle/snap collar or a TPOC approved harness and a 4 to 6 foot leash.

Note:  TPOC does not allow the use of extendable/flexi leashes, slip leashes, halti’s or correction style harnesses.  Only a flat buckle/snap collar or a TPOC approved harness and a standard 4 to 6 foot leash.

13. Does my dog/cat need to be vaccinated every year?

There is a log of controversy over the need to vaccinate your pet annually, particularly a mature pet.  TPOC insists on seeing a current vaccination certificate when the dog/cat is evaluated but will accept a Health Certificate or a copy of a Titer test.