Frequently Asked Questions

​​​​​​​​​Heart to Heart Pet Partners, Inc.

Offering unconditional love, caring and comfort

How is it decided where my partner and I will visit?

This is decided over the course of the 11-week training program. There are on-going conversations between the intern and and her/his training buddy and between the intern and the Team assessment Coordinator and the Executive Director to be sure each intern is assigned to a facility and with a population that the handler and partner would enjoy visiting.

What are the time requirements for a working team?

Teams visit their facilities twice a month. Teams working in a reading program in a school may visit no more than three weeks each month. Each visit usually lasts 1-1.5 hours and is never to be more than 2 hours long. Therapy Dogs must be bathed within 24 hours of each visit. Pet Partners has specialized requirements for cats and small animals and for their partner.

Every team is required to take a month vacation sometime during the year. This has to be taken all at one time to ensure a respite for handler and for their partner.

Handlers are to attend four of six bi-monthly handler meetings per year. The meetings are currently on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 PM at the Island Dog Training Center, and provide opportunities for handlers to receive ongoing education and to share experiences.

What are the initial costs?

​There is no application fee for Heart to Heart and no fee for the Pet Partner Handler Course.

If the therapy team passes the Team Assessment and is accepted into Heart to Heart, there is a $45 fee for Heart to Heart annual dues that is paid at the time of the Team Assessment and in January for the following years. Pet Partners registration is $50 for handlers age 55 and over and $95 for those younger than age 55.

Heart to Heart provides uniforms for each graduating team.

​            Handler: polo shirt and fanny pack both monogrammed with Heart to Heart logo.

​            Therapy Animal : vest monogrammed with logo and a scarf monogrammed with the Heart to Heart logo and animal's name.

Are there additional costs?

Handler:      $45 annual dues to Heart to Heart

Team:          Renewing team registration with Pet Partners every two years.

                     $50 for handler age 55 and over and $70 for those younger than age 55.

Uniform:    Khaki trousers or skirt, closed toe/heel shoes.

What does the 11-week Training Program include?

(This is a one time requirement. Additional training and education are provided at the bi-monthly handler meetings.)

Assignment of a "Training Buddy" who will be available throughout the training classes and for your first year to answer questions, offer suggestions and support and be your 'go to' person.

Three class-in-services: (#1 and 2 are usually all day on a Saturday. #3 is 1 to 1.5 on Saturday.)

     #1: Pet Partner Handler Course: taught by an experienced Heart to Heart handler who is a registered Pet Partner Instructor.

     #2: HIPPA requirements for Confidentiality, Needs of Specific Populations (i.e. children, elders, dementia, etc.)

            Anatomy of a Visit: How to Begin, Conduct and End a Visit, Practice with a stuffed 'partner'  

            Understanding Dog Behavior: How to read and respond to your partner's stress signals

     #3: Bring Therapy Partner and 'role play' visits to a variety of facilities and clients.

Opportunity to run-thru" Pet Partners Team Evaluation (1- 1.5 hours)

Pet Partner Team Evaluation: administered by an experienced Heart to Heart handler who is a Pet Partner Evaluator.

'Shadow' two experienced therapy teams and review observations with you Training Buddy.

Go with your partners to three Heart to Heart Training sites (Bridge Street, Senior Center and Lowe Mill).

     Will be accompanied by Team Assessment Coordinator and Executive Director.


Go with Facility Liaison Coordinator  to your assigned facility to meet staff and review facility policy.

Make at least two supervised visits to your facility.