Canine Comfort Policies

Handler Must:

  • Provide their own dog.
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • Successfully pass a background check conducted by Intellicorp.
  • Be evaluated with the dog they plan to work with. VHS will not allow anyone to handle a dog that they haven’t been specifically approved to work with through our evaluation and certification process.
  • Attend a Canine Comfort orientation.
  • Pass Valley Humane Society’s (VHS) temperament test/evaluation.
  • Make monthly visits to stay active, unless on an approved leave from the program.
  • Wear proper identification. While engaged in approved pet therapy activities, handlers must wear ID badges and dogs must wear purple vests with appropriate patches. Vests should be kept clean.
  • Only visit approved facilities/activities.
  • Never let dog wear vest outside of approved facility.
  • Volunteer with only one dog at a time (in the event more than one dog is accepted the program).
  • Log volunteer hours monthly.
  • Permit VHS to send them email communications. Emails will include specific Canine Comfort program updates, information, and volunteer opportunities, as well as general VHS news.
  • Never leave their dog unattended.

Dog Must:

  • Be at least one year old, and have been under the handler’s guardianship for a minimum of six months.
  • Pass VHS’s certification process (temperament test/evaluation), which requires them to be calm, friendly, enjoy being petted, and able to adapt to different smells, sounds, and surroundings.
  • Have some form of obedience training, and the ability to perform simple commands, including “sit,” “stay,” “down,” “come,” “leave it,” “off,” and “drop it.”
  • Be up to date on vaccinations, fecal testing, and veterinary examinations. Updated records must be submitted annually, within 30 days of expiration, with completed accompanying paperwork as required. Program participation will not be allowed beyond 30 days after your annual expiration date. Rabies and fecal exams should renewed on their expiration dates (if different). Fecal tests must be the Ova & Parasites & Giardia Elisa test. New badges will be issued annually after updated medical records are received. Dogs past due on their medical requirements will be put on hold and will not be allowed to participate in the program. Records not updated within 60 days will result in removal from the program, and will require re-certification.
  • Be bathed and groomed before each visit, with nails trimmed. Dogs should be current on flea treatments.
  • Be on a leash between 2 ½-4 feet in length at all times during a visitation, depending on the size of the dog. Use of retractable leashes, shock collar, electronic/training collar, choke chains or pinch collars are NOT permitted by VHS.
  • Refrain from barking. Barking before, during, or after a visit is grounds for removal. Always exercise your dog before a visit.
  • Be spay or neutered. VHS does make some exceptions for dogs involved as registered AKC show dogs (conformation competitor) and breeding dogs for CCI or Guide Dogs. Adequate proof of the dog’s status must be provided at the evaluation.
  • Not socialize with other dogs during a visit.
  • Not eliminate indoors.
  • Dogs may not wear vest for activities outside of approved therapy visits. This includes shopping, eating, and travel.

Valley Humane Society Reserves the Right to:

  • Remove any Canine Comfort Pet Therapy team from the program at any time, for any reason.
  • Place a team on hold due to concerns about a dog’s behavior, a handler’s ability to manage their dog, or because paperwork is late. Reinstatement may require re-evaluation or submission of updated records.
  • Update these policies at any time.

Please contact Shoshannah Reed at (925) 426-8656, ext. 13 with questions.