What is Pet Partners of Southern Arizona (PPSAZ)?
We are a group of locally registered Pet Partners® Therapy Animal Team volunteers who take our pets to visit people in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hospices, aschools, an libraries and many other places in Southern Arizona. PPSAZ is an official Community Partner of Part Partners. Our local group recently achieved 501(c)(3) status.

What is Pet Partners?
Known as the Delta Society until February 2012, Pet Partners is an international nonprofit founded in 1977 with a mission to help people live healthierand happier lives with companion, therapy, and service animals. There are over 14,000 active volunteer teams, mainly in the U.S.

What is the difference between a service animal and a therapy animal?
A service animal is typically a dog trained to specifically help a person with a disability (such as a guide dog, hearing dog, seizure-alert, etc.). By federal law, a service dog is not consdered a pet, and therefore service dogs are alowed in public places where pets are not allowed.

A therapy animal is typically someone's pet, who with their handler, visit many different people.  Therapy animals are pets, and therefore are NOT allowed the same public access privileges as service animals.

Currently, Pet Partners is a THERAPY animal program.

What is a Pet Partners therapy animal team?
A team consists of one animal and one handler. Teams registered by Pet Partners have successfully completed the requirements necessay to be able to visit a therapy animals teams.

What do I have to do to become a registered Pet Partners therapy animal team?
  • Complete training for the human-end of the leash - either through an in-person course or an online course. For more information, CLICK HERE Pet Partners does NOT offer training for the animal.
  • Pass the skills/aptitude evaluation with your animal partners here in Tucson.
  • Have your veterinarian complete a health screening questionnaire.
  • Complete the registration packet and return it to Pet Partners with your 2-year registration fee.

What type of animal makes a good therapy animal?
Any domesticated animal that is well-mannered, controllable, predictable, has basic obedience skills, enjoys being with people and is comfortable in different environments. The animal must not be too shy and must not have any history of aggressive behavior (even if trained to do so only on command). The animal should instill a sense of confidence that people want to meet and interact with him/her.

What breeds/species can be a part of a Pet Partners theram animal team?
Most domesticated animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, horses, etc. can qualify. Pet Partners registers nine different species of animals.

Must the animal be a certain breeed or a purebred raised from infancy in my home?
No - the demeanor of the animal is what is important, not the breed.  About 30% of all Pet Partners animals were adopted from a shelter or rescue organization. NOTE: Some facilities may have breen restrictions.

Must the animal be spayed/neutered to become a Pet Partners therapy animal?
No - however, some facilities may require it.

How old must the animal be to become a Pet Partners therapy animal?
Animals must be at least one year old and have lived with the handler for at least 6 months. Pocket pets can be as young as 6 months old. There is no upper age restriction.

How old must the human partner be?
Handlers can be as young as 10 years old (must be accompanied by a partner/guardian until they are 16 years old). There is no upper age limit. NOTE: Some facilities may have different minimum age requirements.

I have 2+ animals. Can I be a Pet Partners therapy animal team with all of them?
Yes; however, you must pass an evaluation and register with each animal separately and you can only visit with one animal at a time.

My spouse/partner would like to become a Pet Partner team. Can he/she become a team with the same animal?
Yes, however he/she must pass an evaluation with the animal as well. You both can visit with a single animal at the same time; however, only those who are registered with Pet Partners can handle the animal.

Can animals with disabilities qualify?
Yes - there are many Pet Partners therapy animals that have only three legs, are blind or deaf, or have another disability. If you have an animal that has a disability, talk to an evaluator in advance as sometimes special accommodations may be appropriate for the evaluation.

Can Pet Partners therapy animals eat raw proteins?
No. Pet Partners therapy animals are NOT allowed to eat raw proteins. This is for the protection of people being visited who often have compromised immune systems. Research studies have indicated that animals fed raw proteins have a greater risk of spreading bacterial pathogens. For more information on this topic, visit the website: www.petpartners.org/rawdiet  .

Once a become a registered Pet Partners therapy animal team, am I assigned a place to visit?
No. It is very important that you find a place where you and your animal partner are comfortable. Some prefer working with children, some with the elderly, some prefer a hospital environment, while others may prefer a library. Pet Partners of Southern Arizona helps its members find an approved facility and offers mentoring assistance or you may locate a facility on your own if you are not a Pet Partners of Southern Arizona (PPSAZ) member.

How long are visits?
Typically from 1-2 hours maximum.

Once I become a Pet Partners therapy animal team, how often must I volunteer?
Pet Partners does NOT have minimum requirements to volunteer. Some people volunteer once a month, some multiple times a week. You just need to work out an acceptable schedule with the facilities you visit. Additionally, you should bathe/groom your animal partner within 24 hours of each visit.

How much does it cost to become a registered Pet Partners therapy animal team?
  • Handler Training Online Course Fee - $70
  • Handler/Animal Evaluation Fee - No charge*
  • 2-Year Registration fee paid directly to Pet Partners national office 
    • $95/$50 for Pet Partners of Southern Arizona members, seniors 55+, military, and disabled handler
    • PPSAZ annual membership fee - $24 (not required to be a registered Pet Partner)​

*Fees differ by instructor or evaluator. Currently there is no charge for evaluations in Southern Arizona; however,
  in many other areas of the U.S., there is a fee. All fees are subject to change at any time. 

Once I am a registered Pet Partners therapy animal team is that good forever?
No. Registrations are good for two years. You must pass an evaluation and renew every two years.

Have additional questions?
Contact PPSAZ at [email protected] to connect with a local volunteer to answer your questions.