West Michigan Therapy Dogs, Inc. (WMTD) is a group of AAA/AAT volunteers in Western Michigan. We do not accept monetary reimbursement for any of the services our members provide.
1. General Membership is open to all handler and dog teams that have met the certification requirements of WMTD and may also be registered members of Delta Society International, Inc. or Therapy Dogs, Inc. (If you are not registered you may access these websites from the"Links" page for information).
2. Dogs must have all vaccinations current, including rabies, DHLPP, and a negative fecal check, or as advised against such by a letter from their veterinarian. Titers are accepted.
3. Bordetella vaccines are recommended. Handlers are encouraged to talk to their veterinarians regarding the use of either nasal or injectable vaccine. Dogs given the nasal vaccines may not visit for one week following vaccination. Dogs given injectable vaccines may not visit for five days following initial injection, but have no restrictions following future vaccinations per their veterinarian’s recommendations.
4. Flea/Tick Treatments are highly recommended. Dogs who wear Flea/Tick Collars must have them removed at least 50 hours prior to a visit and a full bath at least 24 - 48 hours prior to a visit. Dogs given topical flea/tick treatments must wait at least 24 hours following a treatment to visit.
5. Handlers are encouraged to give participating dogs an annual heartworm test, dependent upon the area in which the dog will be working, and have their dog on preventative medication as advised by their veterinarian.
6. Female dogs must not be “in season” when participating in therapy visits and club events.
7. Dogs must be clean,well groomed and parasite free. Including trimmed filed toenails, and clean teeth. Handlers must be clean, well groomed, and in compliance with the facility dress code.
8. Dogs must be well socialized with other dogs, and not food aggressive. Many facilities have a resident pet or visitor pet policies and club members often encounter other animals during therapy visits. WMTD members often participate in group therapy sessions held in dining rooms during non-meal times and “treats” are often given during therapy work.
9. A parent or guardian must accompany handlers under 16 years of age while participating in all WMTD visits and/or activities. Junior Membership is open to handlers aged 10 to 17.
10. A team is one dog and one handler. Dogs must also be kept on a leash at all times in accordance with registration liability requirements, except when doing certain obedience or trick demonstrations. Handlers are required to use a maximum of a 6-foot lead while participating in therapy visits. Due to liability considerations, we suggest using a traffic lead with large dogs. Flexi and chain leads are not allowed. National registration organizations may have more restrictive regulations, and these must be followed at all times to maintain liability.
11. Only slip, martingale, or buckle collars in nylon or leather, a harness in nylon or leather, or the use of a head halter are accepted by WMTD. Pinch, prong, or other training collars are not allowed in the therapy environment.
12. A WMTD handler who has a therapy- (puppy or dog)-in-training may not have the dog visit in the optional WMTD vest or bandana until the dog has passed the general membership and health requirements. A bandana or tag stating “therapy-dog-in-training” is suggested. The handler is responsible for verifying in advance each facility’s guidelines on visits with dogs-in-training.
13. All therapy dogs and their handlers must follow all rules and regulations in each facility . If these rules are unclear, consult a staff member or activities director to explain them you.
14. If an incident occurs while on a visit, which causes injury to employee, resident or attendee in the facility: a) Immediately contact the facility’s supervisor on duty; b) document the incident on all required forms for the facility and c) contact the Director of Programs to complete the WMTD incident reporting process (also available through any WMTD board member).
15. At the discretion of the Board of Directors of WMTD, a handler and dog may be asked to temporarily or permanently refrain from further visits under the name of WMTD if the above guidelines fail to be strictly adhered to.
16. Requests for any exceptions to the Member Guidelines shall be submitted in writing to the Vice President of Membership for review by the Board of Directors.
17. In compliance with the American Veterinary Medical Association's recommendations, as of 6/1/2008, dogs that are fed a raw diet (including BARF diets) are no longer eligible for WMTD registration.
18. In compliance with the State of Michigan Laws, dogs must be Canis lupus familiaris; no wolf-hybrids will be accepted for training or registration purposes.
19. Dogs that have had previous training in or participate in bite work and/or protection training (i.e. Schutzhund) are excluded from WMTD classes and membership.
20. Beginning June 1,2008, all members and dogs must go through the Introduction to Pet Therapy Course and pass graduation requirements for membership, or be actively registered at the "complex" level of Pet Partner’s program. Recertification every two years by passing the WMTD Registration test or Pet Partner PPST/PPAT evaluation is required to maintain active membership for handler and dog.
21. Membership calendar year runs from June1st to May 31st. Membership renewal announcements will be sent via electronic or ground mail in May of each business year. Membership dues are$25.00 per year for active adult members with one or more dogs. Secondary handlers in the same house hold with one dog, dues are an additional $10 per secondary handler per year. Junior Handlers aged 10 to 17 is $10.00 per year. Emeritus member dues are $5.00 per year.