Rules for Ottawa Therapy Dog Members
OTD Members agree to adhere to OTD Rules when volunteering for Ottawa Therapy Dogs in any capacity and when visiting for animal-assisted activities/therapy.
A. Before a visit
- The Ottawa Therapy Dog with its OTD Member Handler must have passed the OTD REQUIREMENTS given by one of our certified Evaluators. ONLY the Handler tested with the dog is permitted to handle the dog during therapy dog visits or OTD approved events.
- Dogs must be a minimum of two years old to be tested and registered with OTD.
- OTD Member Handlers under 18 must be accompanied on therapy dog visits, by the parent or legal guardian who has signed the registration form and attended Orientation, Evaluation and all Mentor Visits with the Minor Handler.
- OTD Member Handlers must submit OTD’s Annual Health Records form, completed and signed by a Veterinarian, for Registration and annual Renewal.
- OTD Member Handlers may take only one dog at a time on therapy dog visits. A maximum of two OTD therapy dog teams are allowed in one visiting site at a time.
- OTD Member Handlers are covered under OTD’s Volunteer Insurance program only when registration with OTD is current. OTD Member Handlers are covered by this insurance only when visiting as a volunteer. OTD Insurance coverage applies only within Canada. It is strongly recommended that OTD Member Handlers have Home Ownership insurance.
- OTD Members understand that the Volunteer Insurance coverage provided by OTD is strictly limited to liability actions brought by clients. Said insurance will not cover injuries and/or damages if there is violation of OTD’s Rules and Regulations while visiting. Further, OTD Members agree to indemnify and hold blameless OTD for such injuries and/or damages.
B. During a visit
- Ottawa Therapy Dogs must be clean and well groomed when visiting.
- Female dogs must not be in estrus when participating in therapy work.
- Ottawa Therapy Dogs must be kept on leash at all times when visiting, except when warranted. The handler must pay attention to the dog at all times. Note: Facilities which allow unleashed dogs, or allow non-evaluated dogs to roam are deemed inappropriate and unsafe for OTD Member Teams.
- OTD Therapy Dogs on duty must wear the OTD tag and a flat buckle, snap, cloth martingale collar or harness. (Training collars, metal collars or leashes, extendable leashes are not permitted.)
- A current OTD ID card with the member dog’s photo and name of handler and dog is mandatory when visiting.
- The use of food or treats is prohibited while visiting.
C. After a visit
- Ottawa Therapy Dog Members agree to inform OTD’s Volunteer Coordinator immediately if an OTD dog(s) shows any form of aggressive behaviour toward other dogs or persons or exhibits any change of temperament. OTD Member Handlers further agree to stop visiting with their dog(s) in a Therapy dog capacity until the matter has been resolved.
D. General conduct
- OTD Members understand that the dog’s OTD registration, may not be used for any personal or financial benefit. The use of the OTD registration to gain access to places which are not generally accessible to dogs (other than therapy facilities) is not permitted.
- Public relations appearances by OTD Members using the OTD name or logo, must be authorized in advance by OTD Volunteer Coordinator.
- Members must carry OTD Identification.
- OTD Members will conduct themselves with courtesy and professionalism at all times. OTD Members will present themselves and their OTD Dog as courteous, caring, and well-prepared volunteers who project the good will and high standards of practice, which OTD has fostered in its members.
- OTD Members’ primary objective in wishing to become members of OTD is to share the companionship of their therapy dogs with those whom they encounter in therapy dog visits and/or further the objectives of Ottawa Therapy Dogs.
- OTD Member’s signature indicates that they have been provided a copy of OTD’s Rules and Regulations and have read and understand the responsibilities and obligations under them. OTD Member signature testifies that the OTD Member is prepared to abide by all of these Rules and acknowledges that a violation of these Rules could result in a review of OTD status by the OTD’s Board of Directors which may result in any of the following: review of the Member’s suitability to remain a member; a probationary period imposed; a temporary suspension of OTD privileges; a requirement that a dog(s) be re-tested, or expulsion from the program and relinquishment of OTD registration.
E. OTD non-Handler Members
- Members without a registered OTD therapy dog are welcome to join Ottawa Therapy Dogs.
- It is strongly recommended that Members have Home Ownership insurance.
- Members of OTD volunteering to support the work of the Board of Directors of OTD are covered by the Board’s Director and Officer Liability Insurance (DOLI) as long as these Members are acting with knowledge and consent of the Board and/or Volunteer Coordinator and following OTD Rules, Regulations, Policies and Procedures.