How to Volunteer


The demand for pet-assisted therapy in schools continues to grow, and PetPalsNC needs additional pet therapy Teams to meet this need. Currently we serve schools in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County school districts, but we are regularly adding more schools. PetPalsNC does not train animals nor offer therapy animal certification. In order to work in schools, the pet and handler must already be certified/registered by one of several recognized pet therapy organizations such as Pet Partners, Love on a Leash, Alliance of Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dog International, and others.

If you and your pet are currently a certified pet therapy team, and you are interested in joining PetPals, please contact us so that we might get in touch with you to discuss and answer any questions.

If you are seeking training or certification, please refer to the Resources section for a listing of some of the options for training in the Triangle area and for pet therapy certifying organizations. Please contact us if you have any questions.

But, first, before you begin this process, you and your pet should meet the following general criteria (please note: while dogs are referenced below, other animals can be certified by certain organizations and could also be candidates to work in the schools with PetPalsNC).

Dog Requirements:

  • Can be any breed or mixture
  • Has good disposition, people-oriented, sociable, and friendly
  • Has reliable, basic obedience skills
  • Is physically healthy and keeps up-to-date on recommended vaccinations and other requirements
  • Remains calm in stressful situations
  • Is non-aggressive towards animals and people
  • Is comfortable being touched

Handler Requirements:

  • Much like the dog, the handler must be like people and be friendly and polite in social interactions!
  • Able to advocate for their animal at all times
  • Knows their pet very well, able to predict behavior and re-direct when necessary
  • Able to facilitate interactions – it’s about the pet!
  • Takes instruction and follow rules of the facility and of the certifying organization
  • Able to understand and honor confidentiality and maintain personal boundaries

If you would prefer to share your talents and time by working on a Committee, we need you, too. Click here for a Committee Application.

If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please reach out.