Loving Animals Providing Smiles (LAPS) wants each therapy team handler to be a proud, skilled member of our group, and each pet to be a happy, balanced partner when working with the public.
We require our teams to complete a comprehensive membership process. Based on our long experience in training pets and handlers to provide quality animal-assisted therapy, we have developed the following procedure:
Complete the LAPS registration processwhich includes completing the Application for Membership, attending the LAPS Animal-Assisted Therapy Team Handling Skills Class, and passing the LAPS Skills & Aptitude Team Evaluation.
Complete a 3-month Probation Periodby attending at least four program session(s) under the guidance of a mentor. Experienced members (many of whom are also dog trainers) help new handlers learn how to conduct themselves while communicating with their pets successfully and safely.
Participate year-round by attending a minimum of 2 therapy sessions per month, one of which must be a scheduled group program This commitment ensures LAPS planned therapy sessions are supported and that teams continue to build a sense of community with each other.
Attend general meetingsBy participating in general meetings, members have a greater opportunity to help direct our group and stay connected with each other.
Help support the organization via fundraisers, public and special events We look to our members to make time to support LAPS outside of therapy sessions. Since we never charge facilities for our services, we ask members to help us raise the funds needed to support our teams and our therapy programs. We also attend special events to increase public awareness for animal-assisted therapy activities in our community. Time spent outside of therapy sessions allows LAPS members to work together toward our common goals.
How do I Start?
Download, fill out and mail an application, along with a copy of your pet’s vaccination records, to our office. Once that is received, a LAPS volunteer will contact you to learn more about you, your pet, and your interests. We will help you through all the remaining steps.