How to Become a
Happy Tails Volunteer
Membership is open to pet owners with dogs, cats and/or rabbits. Applicants are required to complete and meet the following requirements prior to application:
The potential member must be at least 18 years old.
Pet must be at least 12 months old for dogs and 6 months old for rabbits and cats.
Pet must have lived with the potential member for at least 6 months.
Dogs must have completed basic obedience training in a group class with the potential member.
Pet must not be on a raw animal protein diet of any type and must not live in a household where a raw protein diet is fed to any animal.
Membership fees are due on an annual basis and help fund our organization. Annual dues provide approximately 20% of the money needed to meet our annual budget. Your first dues will be paid after you pass evaluation.
$20 due when you submit your application
Membership Fee for New Members:
Individuals $50 | Families $75
Individual Annual Membership: $35
Family Annual Membership: $45
If you and your pet meet these requirements, you will need to complete the following steps below:
Step 1: Attend an Orientation
Orientation is the first step in our process. It's a 1-hour event that includes a full breakdown of our applicant requirements, an overview of what to expect at evaluation, the mission of Happy Tails, and details about various facilities and visits. At the end is an open Q&A and discussion for anyone who is interested.
Orientation occurs monthly in Sandy Springs and quarterly in Lawrenceville, GA.
Please note: Pets are not allowed at Orientation and this is for handlers only.
No pets will be allowed in the facility for Orientation.
Step 2: Submit Application & Pay Application Fee
After attending Orientation, download the Orientation Packet and submit to the Administrator for review. The application must include your volunteer profile, pet profile, health form, obedience certificate, code of conduct and accidental injury. An application fee of $20 will be due when you submit your application.
Obedience certificate: We do not make recommendations for specific trainers or courses. Courses must be in a group setting and at least 6 training sessions. Those wishing to volunteer with Happy Tails must train with their pet and be named on the certificate or letter.
Health Records: Your pet's health records must be on the provided Happy Tails health form and signed by your veterinarian. Receipts or other forms of records will not be accepted.
Step 3: Pet-Handler Evaluation
During New Member Orientation, Happy Tails members will describe our pet evaluation more completely, but here is a brief overview.
The Happy Tails Pet/Handler Evaluation is designed to see how you and your pet will react in situations like those we encounter while visiting clients. It is important that you and your pet, as a team, can demonstrate the ability to recover in unusual situations like walking in a crowd, noisy environments, etc. If you and your pet successfully pass the evaluation, we can assure our clients that your pet is well-behaved and well-suited for visits.
You may not use a prong collar, head halter or retractable leash during evaluation.
You may use a harness that fits around the dog’s chest.
You may not use a slip or choke collar.
You may use a standard buckle collar, martingale collar, and a 4-6 foot leash.
Your cat or rabbit must be in a harness and on a leash.
You may not give your pets treats or use toys as rewards during the evaluation.
Things we will test:
Will your pet allow petting and grooming by a stranger?
Can your dog demonstrate basic obedience skills, including sit/stay, down/stay and recall from sit or down?
Will your dog walk beside you on a loose leash?
Will your dog walk on a loose leash with a stranger?
Will your pet behave politely around dogs or other animals?
Will your pet approach someone in a wheelchair or using a walker?
How will your pet react to strange noises and equipment?
Will your pet remain calm in a crowd (like walking in a crowded hallway)?
How will your dog react and recover if bumped by another person or animal?
Will your pet allow several people to hug it at the same time?
Will your pet remain calm when someone nearby is yelling or running?
Will your pet remain calm when you leave it with a stranger and go out of view?
Please Note: Attending an Orientation session and submission of all forms to our Administrator is required prior to scheduling pet/handler evaluation.
Evaluation is held monthly (except July and December), by appointment, from 9:30 AM to 12:30 PM at Atlanta Dogwood Obedience Group – ADOG, located at 3929 Green Industrial Way, Chamblee, GA 30341.
Step 4: Review and agree to uphold the Happy Tails Code of Conduct and Accidental Injury Form
Should you and your pet successfully pass Evaluation, you will be prompted to review and sign the Happy Tails Code of Conduct and Accidental Injury form before you leave the testing facility, if you have not already done so.
Step 5: Attend Volunteer Training
The next step for Happy Tails membership after successful completion of Pet/Handler Evaluation is Volunteer Training. It is a 2-hour session that covers the role and responsibilities of volunteers, types of client facilities and populations to help you select the right visit for your pet, and review procedures and policies regarding visit safety, infection control and other topics to ensure a successful volunteer experience.
Volunteer Training sessions are held on Saturdays as scheduled from 12:30-3:00 p.m. at BluePearl Georgia Veterinary Specialists in Sandy Springs, GA.
Please note: Pets are not allowed at Volunteer Training and this is for handlers only.
No pets will be allowed in the facility for Volunteer Training.
Step 6: Complete an Observation Visit
The final step for Happy Tails membership is to make at least one observation visit without your pet. You must choose a facility from the "Approved Facilities for Observation Visits" provided to you at Volunteer Training. Please call the Team Leader at least one week ahead to arrange an observation visit.
The Team Leader will complete your log sheet, provided to you at Volunteer Training.
Step 7: Submit Membership Fee & Observation Form
After you have completed all the steps above, submit your Observation Sheet along with your application fee to the administrator.
Congratulations! After this last step, you will be considered a full Happy Tails Member! You will receive your t-shirt, pet bandana, ID tags and other materials via mail within a few weeks of submitting your Observation Sheet.
$50 for individuals | $75 for families
All payments can be made through PayPal or with a check.
Please mail checks to
PO BOX 767961
Roswell, GA 30076