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Joyous Paws Pet Therapy Team

joyous paws




Hosted by Joyous Pet Therapy Team and Denver Public Library Hampden Branch

Chiildren reading time with certified therapy animals. All ages children welcome. Group and individual reading/story time. 

Different the animals each date. Help share this with all your friends. The continuation of this event/program depends on the interest expressed.

The first Saturday of each month September-December, 3-4pm @ Denver-Hampden Library, 9755 E Girard Ave, Denver 80231

This is free event and open to children of all ages. 

November 3rd-Dutch pigeons,

Decenber 1st-Pekenise, Dash mix, Maltese

For Information please visit or call Marie at 303-378-5987.


Saturday, October 13 @ 10-1030 am   Balfour Senior Center,   2979 Unita Street, Denver 80238

Saturday, October 20 @ 11am-12 pm,   Care Meridan,  5945  S Wright Street, Littleton 80127

Saturday, October 27 @ 930-1030 am,  Lowry Hills Care & Rehabilitation Center,  10201 E  Third Ave, Aurora 80010

                                                                        THANKSGIVING EVENTS WITH OUR  TOWN

Saturday, November 10 @ 11am-12pm,  Care Meridan, 5945 S Wright St, Littleton 80127

Sunday, November 11 @ 11am-1230pm, Lowry Hills Care & Rehab Center, 10201 E Third Ave, Aurora 80010

Who are we?

            Joyous Paws is a grassroots pet therapy organization, serving the Denver and Colorado Springs areas. We are a non-profit organization focused on the needs of our volunteer members and the facilities which we visit.

What services do you offer?

            We offer FREE visitations and animal assisted activities to nursing care, health care, educational and other facilities. Theses visitations are focused on providing companionship, enjoyment, and entertainment, through teamwork between our handlers and their animals.

            We do NOT offer service or assistance dogs. Service dogs are defined by federal law as those” providing assistance to people suffering from disabilities which prevent them from engaging in normal life activities”. We do provide animal training services.  Although our evaluators may offer training services in addition to, but separate from their work with Joyous Paws, our organization does not offer or require any specific training for its animal members.

            We do not charge for our services, and do not allow volunteers to charge for visitations under our name. Our evaluators may charge up to $5.00 per animal, per test (to help cover their membership and costs); but cannot require that you train your animal through them.

What training is required?

            We do not require any specific training for our therapy pet volunteers. We do require the successful completion of an evaluation by a Joyous Paws approved Therapy Pet Evaluator, and a yearly observation visit.

            New volunteers are required to watch the Joyous Paws visitation tips video before their membership will be accepted.

Why do you charge a membership fee?

            Although we are a volunteer organization, even our office staff and directors are volunteers. We do however have costs of operation, such as licenses, credit card processing fees, etc. Our largest cost if for the liability which protects you in the event of injury to those we visit.

Why have insurance?

            Even with the most careful care, a person can become injured by a therapy pet. Liability insurance covers this situation, and protects our handler volunteers from personal lawsuits. Although some home owners insurance may cover volunteer activities such as pet therapy, not all insurances do, and the coverage varies. We have purchased a policy which covers the needs of our volunteers at the lowest possible costs, and protects this organization from lawsuits. Your accepted membership includes coverage by our insurance carrier.

            This insurance ONLY protects those that you visit, not you or your animal. You assume all financial responsibility for any injuries to you or your pet.

            For insurance purposes, it is imperative that we have the name of and contact info for each and every facility and/or event which you and your therapy pet attend.

            Also for insurance reasons, pets can ONLY visit with approved handlers that have been tested with that animal. Having someone else handle your animal during a visitation without express consent from Joyous Paws is grounds for dismissal from the organization.

Where can my pet and I visit?

            Pet therapy teams (human handler and pet) may visit anywhere that permits them to do so. Therapy pets neither have public access rights, like service animals nor are they allowed in all medical or educational facilities. Visitations are at the request and approval of the facility. We can NOT pressure any facility into accepting any therapy animal. Please note that some facilities have exclusive agreement with certain pet therapy organizations and will not allow other animals to visit. We respect that facility’s right to accept or deny any therapy group or individual animal access at any time.

Why was Joyous Paws formed?

            After many years involvement in various other national pet therapy organizations, Marie and Gisella felt that the needs of volunteer members and facilities were not being met by the available organizations. Rules were set into stone without the room to adjust to accommodate individual situations and needs. We are a member-service based organization with an open policy for feedback from our members and facilities. We are here to help being facilities and therapy teams together, and be sure their relationship is a mutually beneficial one.

            We also felt that a locally based group understands and can address our volunteer’s unique needs. Living and volunteering in Colorado has specific and unique challenges, such as extreme weather, rapidly changing facility staffing and even ownership, should be addressed on a local level; and not from the distance of a national organization.

            We strongly encourage our members to voice their opinions and be active in policy setting and enforcement. 


Member Handlers:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Minimum commitment 5 hours a year, 1 hour per animal
    • Member must document hours and submit each year as part of renewal
      • Executive Director may confirm visitations
    • Must attend or reschedule (with 48 hours notice, except in the case of genuine emergency) all scheduled visits.
    • Payment of application fee
    • Completed/Signed evaluation.
    • Complete background check
      • Presence of criminal background does NOT prevent membership. Each case will be considered on an individual basis
    • Submission of proof of vaccinations and negative fecal for each animal
  • Renewal each calendar year,
    • Mandatory observation visit each year (counts towards minimum hours)
    • Submit completed renewal form
    • Payment of fees
    • Submission of proof of vaccinations and negative fecal for each animal
  • Response to all posted communications within 15 days
    • Email and Facebook are our primary means of communication.
    • Notices of major importance will be sent via email and posted on our members Facebook page. Such notices will be marked RESPONSE REQUIRED.
      • A lack of response within 15 days (unless notification that you will be unavailable) will automatically terminate your membership.
      • If you will be unable to access email or Facebook for more than 15 days, notify the office.
  • Must obey all rules and requirements for each facility and/or event attended.
    • Failure to comply with requirements can result in
      • A written warning
      • Suspension of visiting privileges for a period of up to 6 months
      • Termination of membership
    • All information related to facility patients, residents or students is confidential.
      • Posting of names, photos or other identifiable information regarding residents/patients may result in termination of membership.
  • Personal Conduct:
    • All handlers and animals must be clean and appropriately dressed/equipped during visits.
      •  Appropriate dress includes shirts and closed toed shoes, RIPPED JEANS, MINI SKIRTS, REVEALING BLOUSES, TSHIRTS with political or religious statements, are NOT appropriate.
      • Member handlers and animals must wear Joyous Paws identification while visiting/volunteering with the organization.
        • Members may also wear identification of other pet therapy organizations for which they are active and current members. Any questions regarding identification should be directed to the Executive Director.
    • Be respectful and courteous to all residents, staff members, other visitors at all times.         
    • Members may not assist residents/patients with any physical activities, including assisting
    • Members may not accept monetary gifts or other tangible items from residents/patients.
      • Members may accept small in-tangible gifts such as pictures or candy if permitted by facility rules.
    • Any safety concerns, violations of safety requirements by other members, or possible injuries to others MUST BE reported to the Executive Director within 24 hours.
      • Failure to report safety concerns may result in suspension or termination of visiting privileges (at the Executive Director’s discretion).
    • Any incident involving injury to a resident or other person or animal during volunteer activities MUST BE reported to the facility coordinator immediately. The incident must also be reported to the Executive Director within 24 hours.
  • Submit completed application

              residents/patients with petting animals.


Animal Members

  • Minimum of 1 year of age.
  • Current on vaccinations:
  • Spay/Neuter not required
    • Female dogs cannot visit while in heat or for 2 weeks after last active signs of heat.
  • All animals must be on leash
    • (nylon, rope or leather-no chain leashes) no longer than 5.5 feet at all times.
      • Retractable leashes are NOT allowed
    • Animals must be controlled with a properly fitted head collar, body harness, or nylon/leather neck collar.
  • Animals must be handled by their registered handler(s). All handlers must be tested with each and every animal that they will be handling.
    • 2 animals may visit together with the same handler
      • Both animals must be tested together with the same handler.
  • Animal and handler teams are tested upon application to Joyous Paws.
    • All test elements must be completed successfully
    • The test MUST be conducted by an approved evaluator.
      •  A copy of the completed and signed test form must be submitted by the evaluator (even if a copy is submitted by the handler)
    • Upon successful completion of the test, each animal/handler team MUST conduct an observation visit with an approved evaluator.
      • This observation visit MUST be repeated each year prior to renewal of membership.

The Executive Director holds final authority in all matters regarding implementation and violations of all above requirements. Members will be notified in writing of suspected violations and given 30 days to respond (in the event of a violation which may result in suspension or termination of membership). Visitation privileges will be suspended during that 30-day response period. Facilities will be notified of all suspensions and terminations.

Violations of the above requirements, or reports of inappropriate behavior by either human or animal members will be fully investigated and documented!!

For more information about Joyous Paws Pet Therapy Team 

Email : [email protected]

or call Marie @ 303-378-5987


New Member Application

Member Renewal Form

New Animal Application

Visitation Record

Contact Us

Request a consutlation

Our Location

Office Hours

Office Hours-Appointment hours may vary slightly


9:00 am-7:00 pm


9:00 AM-7:00 pm


9:00 AM-7:00 pm


9:00 AM-7:00 pm


9:00 am-7:00 pm


9:00 am-7:00 pm


10:00 pm-5:00 pm