Congratulations to our most devoted volunteer, Jackie Gebel!
We recently honored Jackie Gebel with our first outstanding volunteer award. Jackie, her birds Moose and Squirrel, and her dogs Suki and Houston have visited many facilities including senior care facilities, the libraries, and children's Sunday School. Jackie has appeared on TV news and in public events promoting pet therapy.
We can not thank her enough for all her work and dedication.
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 we visit.
What services do we offer?
We offer free visits and animal-assisted activities to nursing care, health care, educational and other facilities. These visits 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 visits under our name. Our evaluators may charge up to $5 per animal, per test (to help cover their membership and costs); but cannot require that you train your animal through them.
What if I do not have an animal?
We welcome monetary, materials (prizes or presents for those we visit) and donations of time to help with large events, office work and the like. For more information or to make a donation of any kind please contact Marie at [email protected] or 303-378-5987.
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?
We are a totally volunteer organization; even our office staff and directors are volunteers. We do, however, have costs of operation, such as licenses and credit-card processing fees. Our largest cost is the liability coverage which protects members 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 homeowners 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 cost, and protects this organization from lawsuits. Your accepted membership includes coverage by our insurance carrier.
This insurance protects only 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 information for each and every facility and/or event that you and your therapy pet attend.
Also for insurance reasons, pets can visit only with approved handlers who have been tested with that animal. Having someone else handle your animal during a visit 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. Visits are at the request and approval of the facility. We cannot 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 of 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. The rules of other groups 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 bring facilities and therapy teams together, and to ensure their relationship is a mutually beneficial one.
We also felt that a locally based group understands and can address our volunteers' unique needs. Living and volunteering in Colorado has specific and unique challenges, such as extreme weather, rapidly changing facility staffing and even ownership. These questions 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.
We work in cooperation with Reading Education Assistance Dogs
For more information about Joyous Paws Pet Therapy Team
Email : [email protected]
or call Marie @ 303-378-5987