Virtual Paws Therapy Teams

VIP's volunteer Virtual Paws Therapy teams provide connection and canine love, virtually!

Together, you and your dog can bring joy and comfort to those who need it most!

VIP's certified Virtual Paws Teams provide virtual pet therapy to people dealing with emotional and physical life changes but are unable to receive in-person visits. This unique approach allows volunteers to connect with isolated individuals who would otherwise not be reached. The visits provide an opportunity for conversation, connection and comfort.

To become a certified Virtual Paws Therapy team with VIP, you and your dog must be fully committed to completing our certification process. Sounds great, right? Well, here’s what you need to know:

STEP 1: Pre-Requisites

You and your dog must meet the following general qualifications:

  • Animal must be at least 12 months old.
  • You must have owned your animal for at least six months.
  • You must have reliable internet and a computer/device with video and audio capabilities.
  • You must be comfortable speaking on camera and answering questions about your pet.
  • You must be comfortable using online platforms like Zoom.
  • Dog must be comfortable remaining in a general area for a 15-30 minute period.
  • Dog should respond well to commands and know some basic tricks.
  • Attend a VIP Orientation
  • Fill out a VIP Dog Teams Application ( click on Application)
Therapy dogs

STEP 2 VIP's Virtual Paws Therapy Dog Evaluation and Certification Process

Register for an evaluation, which will determine if you and your dog are suited to become a certified Virtual Paws team with VIP.

Evaluations are administered at no cost and are ONLINE using Zoom. They are offered once a month and you must attend an orientation prior to registration. If you do not pass the first time you can register for another one.

For more information about the Virtual Paws Evaluation and Certification Process, please contact us at (805) 419-0677

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STEP 3: Membership

Membership fees are due upon passing Evaluation and the background check.

  • $50 Annual Membership – (one dog and one handler) includes Virtual Paws Certificate and a Virtual Paws bandana for your dog.
  • This certification is for ONLINE therapy only.
  • You must submit a background check through Intellicorp after your evaluation is approved.
  • You must be evaluated in person for VIP Dog Teams G.O.T. Dogs certification for live visits.

STEP 4: Online Virtual Visit Tutorial

Once you've completed your membership requirements, you and your dog must complete an online virtual tutorial prior to volunteering.

The online tutorial will ensure that you and your dog are prepared to provide virtual visits. It will cover things like:

  • What to do on a virtual visit
  • Camera set-up and audio
  • Background and lighting
  • How to use Zoom
  • And more
Ryder Therapy dog

STEP 5: Volunteering

You will begin to receive monthly emails with the various volunteer opportunities available to you and can register for them at your leisure.  You may also initiate relationships with facilities of your choice (with our approval).