Facility Dog Program Information What is a Facility Dog?



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Facility Dog Program Information

What is a Facility Dog?

A Facility Dog is a dog that has been specially trained to work with professional caregivers to improve the health and well-being of those in their care. Facility Dogs work in a variety of environments and organizations, including visitation programs, rehabilitation programs, and educational programs.


Facility Dogs are specifically selected for their soft disposition and mild temperament. They are extensively trained in obedience and working commands to be more interactive ensurting that they are manageable and enjoyable working partners.

What benefits do Facility Dogs provide?

The work that Facility Dogs do depends on the environment into which they are placed. The acceptance and unconditional love of a dog can provide great relief from feelings of social isolation and depression. In addition, the dog can be taught and directed to interact with individuals with a variety of disabilities and medical conditions. Many studies have shown that companion animals help reduce feelings of isolation, focus attention away from oneself, lower stress and blood pressure, etc. Facility Dogs also provide a talking point for better communication.


Facility Dogs are also skilled in commands that, when utilized in conjunction with structured activities or therapies, can enhance and promote various rehabilitation or educational goals and objectives. Some examples of these are to shake hands and give kisses.

What is a Primary Caregiver?

In order to obtain the maximum benefit that a Facility Dog can provide, the Primary Caregiver or the dog handler, is also extensively trained. Primary Caregivers direct the Facility Dog's interactions and activities with the individuals that they work with and provide services for.


The Primary Caregiver is also responsible for the Facility Dog's care and management at all times. The Facility Dog will also live with the Primary Caregiver and their family, who will ensure that the dog's individual and health care needs are taken care of.

What is a Secondary Caregiver?

A Secondary Caregiver will be trained to handle the Facility Dog within the facility and at home as well if the primary is not availiable.



Who can become a Caregiver?

Full time employees who works in a VAPAHCS program is welcome to apply for training to get a Facility Dog.



What kind of education and training is required of a Caregiver before a Facility Dog is placed?

Caregivers are required to participate in a dog training class. The Caregiver will learn the concepts and skills required to gain canine co-operation, and will be guided in the facilitation techniques that promote the dog interacting with facility clientele. The training will typically be two weeks in duration and may be held off site and/or on VAPAHCS campus.


The information covered in the training class includes:

  • The basic nature of the dog and leadership skills required by a handler to gain co-operation;

  • Canine handling, behavior and psychology;

  • Canine health and well-being management;

  • Canine nutrition;

  • Facility programs and techniques.

At the conclusion of the training, the Caregiver must demonstrate the ability to safely and effectively handle the Facility Dog and manage his or her behavior. The VA Canine Committee reserves the right to refuse a Facility Dog placement with anyone that cannot demonstrate safe and effective handling and maintenance of a Facility Dog.


The first few weeks and months following placement of a Facility Dog are a critical period of time for everyone. Making the transition from the classroom to the Caregiver’s home and work environments and lifestyle require just as much effort and attention as was required to successfully complete the training course. This is due to the dog’s need for consistent handling to maintain and “routine-ise” working responsiveness and behaviors. For this reason, The VA Canine Committee requires that the new Caregivers make themselves available for a follow up visit at the facility as the final part of the placement process. This follow up evaluation allows us to assess how the transition is progressing and to provide ongoing guidance and instruction to the new facility team. Periodic random check ups on the program will be done from the VA Canine Committee.

How is a Facility Dog matched with the correct program?

When matching a Facility Dog with the appropriate program and team, many things are taken into consideration. The process begins with pre-placement evaluations of both the dog and applicant. Although highly trained and skilled, each dog has its own unique temperament which may or may not make it appropriate for every person and working role. Facility Dogs have a profile of their temperamental characteristics, strengths, weaknesses and activity level. With this information, a profile of an appropriate caregiver and working role for the dog is developed.


The second major part of the pre-placement evaluation entails developing an in-depth understanding of the facility, client population, the goals the facility has in getting a Facility Dog, as well as information about the designated caregiver, their job at the facility, their lifestyle and personality. This information is obtained from the application process. Applicants who are accepted become candidates and placed on a waiting list, and will be invited to attend a training placement class. Facility Dogs are placed based on their position on the waiting list and the availability of a dog.
Do Facility Dogs have public access?

Facility Dogs do not have public access. They are still issued with an assistance dog identification vest, to be worn within the facility, but they are not allowed anywhere that a pet dog is not permitted.


What do Caregivers receive with a Facility Dog?

All Facility Dogs are spayed or neutered, microchipped and vaccinated. They come a body harness, identification vest, and leash. All veteranary care including maitnence care (heartguard and flea medicine and shots) is provided by the community stakeholder.


You must be a VA volunteer in both the Primary and Secondary caregiver.For liabillity purposes you must be signed up as a VA volunteer. Please see Voluntary Service to sign up or click on Download Volunteer Application Forms
http://www.paloalto.va.gov/giving/

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Facility Dog Application

Name of Program requesting a facility dog? __________________________________________


Location: ______________________________________
Division: __________ Building: __________ Floor: __________

Primary Facilty Dog Handler:
Name: ________________________________________________________
Your Direct Supervisor/ Phone Number __________________________________________
Job Title______________________________________________________
Home Address: ______________________________________________
Office Location: ______________________________________________
Contact numbers

Work: _________________________________

Work cell phone: _____________________

Personal: ______________________________


Email: __________________________________________

Secondary Facilty Dog Handler:


Name: ________________________________________________________
Your Direct Supervisor/ Phone Number __________________________________________
Job Title______________________________________________________
Home Address: ______________________________________________
Office Location: ______________________________________________
Contact numbers

Work: _________________________________

Work cell phone: _____________________

Personal: ______________________________


Email: __________________________________________


ABOUT YOUR PROGRAM:


  1. Program Discription: _______________________________________________________________

Program Director: ___________________________________________________________________



  1. Is your progam willing to be matched with a dog regardless of breed, size, color, or sex? _________________________________________________________________________




  1. Do you have any questions or concerns about assuming the role of facility dog handler? Explain. _________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Briefly describe your job within the program: ____________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________

  2. What is your tour of duty: __________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Please describe your work environment, please include physical layout, activity level, describe a day’s activities in your program. _______________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. How many hours per day do you spend doing direct patient care? _____________




  1. Do you have clinical interventions outside the facility (outings), if so how often? ________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Program’s Population Diagnosis and patinets served:_______________________________________________________________________________




  1. What is the age range of the veteran’s the program serves? _____________________




  1. Average length of residency or service provided? ________________________________




  1. Name the different disciplines on the interdisplinary treatment team of the program? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What measures have been taken to poll staff and clients to determine support of a facility dog placement? _______________________________________________




  1. What is the overall staff reaction towards placing a facility within the program? ________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What are the concerns that have been expressed? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What favorable reactions have been expressed? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What experience, if any, does your program have with animals on the program? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Briefly discribe the level of activity within your program? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What are your expectations of how the canine committee team can assist in a positive placement of a facility dog? _____________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________



FACILITY DOG INFORMATION:


  1. Describe how having a facility dog at your program will be beneficial? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. How would you incorporate a facility dog in your day to day work? _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. How do you think a facility dog will impact your daily routine? ________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________




  1. What do you envision the outcomes will be having a facility dog at your program? ____________________________________________________________________________




  1. *What do other treatment team members envision? (if it differs from your vision) ________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Do you have a space to leave the facililty dog for a short period of time? (an example of this would be if you were working with a veteran and having the facility dog is not clinically indicated) ____________________________________________




  1. Do you have a space that would be appropriate for the dog to exercise or eliminate? And is it closed/fenced in? _________________________________________




  1. Do you have elevators in your program? And if so, how will this impact the Facility Dog? ________________________________________________________________________



PRIMARY PERSONAL INFORMATION:
As the primary facility dog handler you will be responsible for the dog at all times, work hours, evenings and weekends.


  1. Do you own or rent __________________________________________________________




  1. Does your current residence allow dogs? __________________________________




  1. What type of residence? (Circle one)

House condo apartment




  1. Please provide a detailed description of your home, yard, and living environment and neighborhood. ______________________________________________________________________________________




  1. Do you have any outdoor space? And is it enclosed?___________________________



  1. If you do not have a yard how do you plan to exercise the dog and toilet your dog? _________________________________________________________________________________




  1. How many hours per day are you home? ________________________________________




  1. Please list all members of your household (relatives, significant other, friends, roomates, etc.

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________



  1. How would you describe the activity level in your household?

Active Moderately active quiet




  1. How does your household feel about getting a facility dog? _____________________




  1. Have you ever owned a dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, when and what breed(s)? _______________________________________

  1. Do you currently own a dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what breed(s) and how old? _____________________________________

Is the dog(s) neutered or spayed? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Can you provide proof of vaccinations for your dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Please give us the name and phone number of your dog(s)’s veterinarian.

Name____________________________________________

Phone ____________________________________________

Does your dog(s) have any behavior that could be problematic with the introduction of a new puppy)? [ ] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  1. Do you have any other pets? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what kind and how many? ______________________________________

  1. Have you had any dog training classes? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what kind?

[ ] Obedience [ ] Agility [ ] Show [ ] Other ______________________





  1. Please list any activities, hobbies, or recreation activities you would participate with the facility dog outside your tour of duty? ____________________




  1. What is your primary means of transportation? ________________________________



SECONDARY PERSONAL INFORMATION:
As the Secondary facility dog handler you will be responsible for the dog at all times, work hours, evenings and weekends.


  1. Do you own or rent __________________________________________________________




  1. Does your current residence allow dogs? __________________________________




  1. What type of residence? (Circle one)

House condo apartment




  1. Please provide a detailed description of your home, yard, and living environment. ___________________________________________________________________




  1. Do you have any outdoor space? And is it enclosed?___________________________



  1. If you do not have a yard how do you plan to exercise the dog and toilet your dog? _________________________________________________________________________________




  1. How many hours per day are you home? ________________________________________




  1. Please list all members of your household (relatives, significant other, friends, roomates, etc.

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________

Name: _________________________ Age: _______ Relationship: _________________


  1. How would you describe the activity level in your household?

Active Moderately active quiet




  1. How does your household feel about getting a facility dog? _____________________




  1. Have you ever owned a dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, when and what breed(s)? _______________________________________

  1. Do you currently own a dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what breed(s) and how old? _____________________________________

Is the dog(s) neutered or spayed? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Can you provide proof of vaccinations for your dog(s)? [ ] Yes [ ] No

Please give us the name and phone number of your dog(s)’s veterinarian.

Name____________________________________________ Phone________________________

Does your dog(s) have any behavior that could be problematic with the introduction of a new puppy)? [ ] Yes [ ] No If yes, please describe. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



  1. Do you have any other pets? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what kind and how many? ______________________________________

  1. Have you had any dog training classes? [ ] Yes [ ] No

If yes, what kind?

[ ] Obedience [ ] Agility [ ] Show [ ] Other ______________________





  1. Please list any activities, hobbies, or recreation activities you would participate with the facility dog outside your tour of duty? ____________________

What is your primary means of transportation? ________________________________



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