Why Choose NCTD?
NCTD is always looking for new volunteer teams. If you have a healthy obedient dog who loves people and gets along well with other dogs, and if you are interested in helping our clients, you and your dog may be good candidates. We can also accept cats and certain other pets.
Want to volunteer but don’t have a pet? We can still use your help: see Volunteer Without an Animal.
With NCTD, you will be well-prepared for therapy dog visits and always have the support you need. NCTD excels in its approach to training and support for teams, including training classes for handlers and their animal partners and a formal evaluation for the team. When the team passes the evaluation, NCTD will assist in finding a suitable facility for them to visit.
As an NCTD volunteer, you will be eligible to visit any NCTD-approved facility that requires additional teams, where you will be mentored by an experienced volunteer. You will also be able to take advantage of ongoing training/educational opportunities, and will be invited to NCTD social activities.
Some of the other benefits of volunteering with NCTD include:
Nationally-Recognized Training/Evaluation Process
- NCTD believes training both ends of the leash is important.
- NCTD provides a special six week therapy dog training course. This class allows both handler and animal to practice visiting in a safe learning environment.
- NCTD's mentor program provides an opportunity for new volunteers to learn from experienced volunteers. A mentor is assigned to all new volunteers to help them through the registration process and their first visits.
- NCTD provides ongoing training opportunities to its volunteers through open floor training sessions.
Variety of Premier Facilities
- NCTD's facilities include hospitals, assisted-living facilities, rehabilitation centers, and even schools!
- At many NCTD facilities, there are opportunities to not only visit with clients, but to actually help clients through rehabilitation using Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT).
- NCTD's R.E.A.D. Program helps children improve their reading skills by reading to animals.
- NCTD's visits are scheduled on different days at different times throughout the greater Washington, D.C. area. This allows volunteers to select visits that best fit their needs and schedules.
- NCTD volunteers, in addition to visiting NCTD facilities, are often welcome to visit other facilities.
- Many facilities welcome NCTD teams because of our excellent reputation!
Be Part of a Winning Team
- Both NCTD handlers and animals wear NCTD uniforms on visits. This allows facility staff and clients to quickly identify us as therapy teams.
- By visiting as a group at NCTD facilities, volunteers learn from each other and can share their visiting experiences.
- NCTD provides opportunities to socialize with other volunteers by sponsoring picnics and volunteer appreciation events.
- NCTD keeps volunteers informed through a combination of group e-mail messages, web site information, and our e-newsletter.
- Volunteers feel like part of a team.
- All NCTD teams carry $2 million supplemental liability insurance.
- NCTD provides volunteers opportunities to assist with other aspects of the organization, including helping with public education programs, new volunteer training and evaluation, and mentoring.