RULES for People, Visits and Pets
We value and enforce the credibility of our program and our volunteers and pets.
Our pets are permitted to have more than one certified human (our certified youth handlers bring lots of smiles in nursing homes), and our humans often have more than one certified pet in our program. Some places will allow up to 2 pets with 1 handler. Team leaders will know information about their visits.
The majority of visits last between 1 and 2 hours.We do not schedule our pets for more than 2 hours.

Rules for Our People
Secondary liability insurance coverage will be supplied by Smiles and Fur Friends. Each volunteer’s own homeowner’s insurance and car insurance policies will be their primary coverage. Volunteers must keep their driver’s license, car insurance policy and pets' rabies vaccination certificates current in our files.
2. By registering or renewing with Smiles and Fur Friends, the applicant agrees to abide by all Rules and procedures. Failure to abide by these rules will result in cancellation of registration or renewal. All rules, procedures, regulations, forms and other materials are subject to revision as needed, without prior notice.
3. By registering or renewing, all volunteers agree to inform an officer of Smiles and Fur Friends immediately if their animal shows any sign of aggressive behavior toward other animals or persons, and to stop visiting with that animal in a Therapy Animal capacity until the matter has been resolved with our organization's President. Team leaders are required to always notify an officer of any negative action by a volunteer or a pet, and our other volunteers must also ensure the safety of everyone at all times.
4. To respect the privacy of all those we visit, our volunteers will NOT take pictures of faces or any identifying information of anyone other than our own volunteers. We also try to call everyone Ms. or Mr. with their first names, like Ms. Ann or Mr. Joe. Health care workers are required to follow the HIPAA Act (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). HIPAA provides protection for a person’s medical information, including information in their medical records, conversations between doctors and/or nurses abut a patient’s treatment, or their billing information. Compliance is required by health care providers (doctors, hospitals, clinics and nursing homes), health plans and health care clearing houses. Although we are not health care providers, our volunteers are to never mention or share any medical information they may see or overhear about any of the residents or patients we visit. Click on the blue button to download “HIPAA Compliance” information.
5. Volunteers should never visit if they have any illness or fever. Many clients are fragile. And be very aware of any "infectious" or "do not enter" sign by a resident's or patient's door.
6. Renewal each year occurs in January and is not automatic.  Anyone not renewed by the end of January is pulled from our roster, is no longer permitted to visit with their pet, and is no longer covered by our group's insurance.
Rules for Our Visits
1. Ask at the door of each client if they want a visit from your pet.
2. Volunteers must not provide any aid or help to residents. For any request by a resident, say "I will tell the aide" and then do so. You are responsible for yourself and pet only. Keep chatting "light" and focused on pet topics. Leave a resident's room the way you found it.  (We at times must move a chair, etc. for pet access.)
3. No pets are to be off-leash at any time (unless per physical therapist request). Handler must hold leash at all times. If needed, another of our volunteers may briefly pet-sit (eg. handler bathroom break), but no handling of pet by non-certified people is ever permitted.
4. No balls (walking hazard) or off-lead fetching. For most visits, "sit" and "down" are entertaining tricks.
Volunteers should be on time for all visits and let the team leader know in advance to expect them before every visit. At times, visits get canceled at the last minute (eg. for a flu outbreak) and leaders need to know who to contact on short notice. Carry the leaders' cell number with you in case of unavoidable delay. Some places have escorts for us and the team should not be kept waiting.
6. Stay together with the team leader throughout the entire visit.

Rules for Our Pets

1. Pets must be bathed no less than 2 days before each visit.  No topical flea preventative until after a visit.
2. Pets must not pull, jump, bark or otherwise show "bad manners" during a visit.
3. Pets must have nails filed and smooth. Be careful with pet "shaking hands" with residents. Even the paw pads can be rough and elderly skin is very fragile.
4. Some pets do not like other pets near their face. Be aware of your pet at all times.
5. No butt-sniffing. This applies to the pets, too. (Just to see if you are still reading our rules.)
6. Pets are not permitted to visit with any bandaged, stitched or open wound.
7. Know that therapy pets are only considered therapy pets as long as they are actively participating in their certifying organization. Once they quit, retire, are no longer active, or get a new owner, they are no longer considered a therapy pet at all.

1. Most dogs must pass the AKC (American Kennel Club) official CGC (Canine Good Citizen) test and/or temperament testing. We will have our testing several times at different locations during the year to evaluate new pets and their handlers for approval to join our program. Dogs with their CGC will be screened, but need pay nothing extra. Dogs, cats and rabbits that are Temp-tested at these times will pay a one-time $20 fee to the evaluator for the temperament testing.
2. The list of items on both the CGC test and our Temperament test are listed on the "Test Information" page under the MORE tab on the menu bar.

Therapy Dog titles (Through the AKC)
Smiles and Fur Friends is approved to award the AKC Therapy Dog Titles to our volunteers who have completed those requirements.  Mixed breed dogs can also earn these titles. Dogs that are still actively competing in the show ring are welcome as our volunteers and are able to add the Therapy Dog Title to their official AKC registered name. Our forms for logging visits are provided for our volunteers.

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