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Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL

What is the role of a Gabriel’s Angels’ volunteer?
Gabriel's Angels’ volunteers (registered pet therapy teams and helping hands) visit facilities serving at-risk children in Arizona. An at-risk child is under the age of 18 and due to psychosocial and environmental factors is less likely to become a well-balanced adult without intervention. Registered pet therapy teams consist of an owner/handler, their pet, and if available a helping hand. Volunteer pet therapy teams provide a safe environment while teaching children attachment, self-regulation, affiliation, empathy, tolerance, respect, trust, confidence, and unconditional love. Volunteers also demonstrate humane education through modeling proper treatment of animals.
What is pet therapy?
Gabriel’s Angels uses the term “pet therapy” due to it being easily understood by the general population as animals visiting with human clients. The term pet therapy is not to be confused with Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), which involves working directly with a licensed healthcare or human service provider to help a client meet specific treatment goals and record progress.
Do you provide pet therapy in nursing homes, hospitals etc., or do you focus only on facilities serving at-risk children?
Gabriel's Angels’ mission is to inspire confidence, compassion, and best behaviors in at-risk children through pet therapy. Our goal is to build healthy relationships between at-risk children and pets to fulfill our mission and we focus strictly on this mission. However, there are other organizations providing services to local nursing homes, rehabilitation clinics and hospice care facilities.
What are animal assisted activities?
Gabriel’s Angels’ volunteer pet therapy teams use "animal assisted activities" to promote improvement in a child’s confidence, compassion, and best behaviors. Animal assisted activities are fun goal-related activities that focus on teaching attachment, self-regulation, affiliation, empathy, tolerance, respect, confidence, and/or humane education through the human-animal bond. Examples of animal assisted activities include children walking a dog on a leash, with the help of the handler, or bringing a pet water and/or rewarding the pet with treats for obeying basic obedience commands. The latter activity allows the child to experience positive control and heightens their self-esteem/confidence when the pet listens and responds. These represent part of the many ways our pet therapy teams interact with the children.
What exactly happens on the pet therapy visits?
During visits, the handler and the helping hand encourage children to pet, brush, and engage with the therapy pet. These simple animal assisted activities enable the child to begin bonding with the animal. This also facilitates building feelings of attachment, trust, empathy, and respect. Interactions like this promote outward focus and can help a child momentarily forgetting about his/her problems while being in a safe environment and experiencing unconditional love (maybe for the first time) while joining in heathy group behaviors.
Is there a certain breed of dog that is preferred for pet therapy?
There are no breed requirements for registration. All dogs must be of predictable, sound temperament, love to interact with children and be at least one year old.
What is a 501(c)(3) organization?
This means that all contributions to this charity, other than for value of goods received, are tax-deductible as mandated by the Internal Revenue Service.
How long has Gabriel's Angels been a charity?
We have been a 501(c)(3) charity since May of 2000. We officially began our pet therapy visits in August of 2000.
How else can I help?
There are many ways to help. Volunteer your time, provide a donation, set up a memorial contribution or legacy fund; please visit https://www.gabrielsangels.org/how-to-help/ for more information.

ON BECOMING A VOLUNTEER

What requirements are needed to become a Gabriel's Angels volunteer?
The first step is to attend an Information Session. Please visit our https://www.gabrielsangels.org/what-we-do/volunteer/ for details, dates/times, and registration for sessions. Each handler and pet must be evaluated and registered with either Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Pet Partners. All pet therapy teams and helping hands must obtain or possess a current level one fingerprint clearance card with the state of Arizona. Other requirements include completing a Gabriel’s Angels’ volunteer application and providing three personal references. The final step is to attend a personal orientation training with a Gabriel’s Angels’ Volunteer Coordinator.
How do I know if I have the right pet to volunteer with Gabriel's Angels?
Pets that are candidates for our program must be comfortable around and tolerate children petting and hugging them. They must be predictable in their behavior as well as pass basic obedience skills (walk on a loose leash, sit, stay, down, and come commands). Dogs must be at least one year of age, known by his/her handler for six months, be evaluated and registered. Feel free to contact a Gabriel’s Angels’ Volunteer Coordinator for a pet assessment.
Can I volunteer with any pet, or does it have to be a dog?
Our organization has had many different types of pets (dogs, cats, bunnies, mini horses, etc.) volunteering in our programs, if the handler/pet are registered with an approved agency and the pet therapy team is a good fit desiring to serve at-risk children then we can begin the onboarding process.   
I don't have a pet, can I still volunteer?
Yes, our helping hands are invaluable! Helping hands partner with a pet therapy team on visits. They collaborate in planning visit activities and help manger larger groups of kids, so that each child feels supported. This is a rewarding way to volunteer without having your own therapy dog!
Do I have to be fingerprinted?
Yes, all Gabriel’s Angels volunteers must obtain or possess a current Level One fingerprint clearance card by the State of Arizona to work with children and as required to visit many of the agencies we serve. Click here Azdps.gov/services/public/fingerprint to begin the fingerprint application process or contact your Gabriel’s Angels’ Volunteer Coordinator.
What confidentiality agreements are required?
Gabriel’s Angels’ requires that you sign a confidentiality agreement and adhere to both our policies as well as the policies of the agencies we visit to safeguard the children we serve.
How can my pet and I become a registered pet therapy team and how much does it cost?
The first step is to attend a Gabriel’s Angels’ Information session. During the session we will cover all the steps necessary to become a registered pet therapy team. Please visit https://www.gabrielsangels.org/what-we-do/volunteer/ for details, dates/times, and registration for sessions. Click here to view Pet Partners & Alliance of Therapy Dog registration information.
How old must my pet be to be registered?
Pets must be at least one year of age to be registered for pet therapy and volunteer with Gabriel’s Angels. Before becoming evaluated by Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Pet Partners, you must have known your pet for a minimum of six months.
My pet and I are already registered through Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Pet Partners. How can we become a pet therapy team with Gabriel’s Angels?
Congratulations on already being registered! The next step is to attend a Gabriel’s Angels’ Information session. Please visit our https://www.gabrielsangels.org/what-we-do/volunteer/ for details, dates/times, and registration for sessions.

ON BEING A VOLUNTEER

What is the average tenure of a Gabriel’s Angels volunteer?
Approximately 2.7 years for a therapy team, and approximately 2.3 years for a helping hand. Our longest tenured volunteer has been with us for over 19 years!
How does Gabriel’s Angels support volunteers?
A Volunteer Coordinator’s (VC) primary role is to support all volunteers, and typically you will have a primary VC who will be your liaison. Your support begins with your Information Session and any questions following through the onboarding process. After a personal orientation by your VC at the GA office with your pet, your next step will be to have a ‘Meet & Greet’ at a facility/school that appears to be a good fit for your visits. If you are then ready to begin your visits, your VC will accompany you for your first few visits, as well as do a brief training on the ACT Kit, (Animals & Children Together). Volunteer Coordinators are required to accompany all volunteers on visits every six months, or whenever needed.
Does Gabriel's Angels place me in a facility once I am a volunteer?
Yes, placement is decided together and based on your availability, location, the age of children you desire to serve, the available population, and the volunteer/facility agreement.
What facilities do Gabriel's Angels’ volunteers visit?
Gabriel’s Angels’ pet therapy teams visit schools (including Title 1), child crisis nurseries/ domestic violence /family /homeless shelters, after school and head start programs, therapeutic group homes, residential treatment centers, and juvenile detention centers. Click here to see our partnering agencies https://www.gabrielsangels.org/what-we-do/facilities/
Is there liability insurance for myself and my pet when we are volunteering for Gabriel's Angels?
Both Alliance of Therapy Dogs and Pet Partners provide their registering pet therapy teams with a multimillion-dollar primary liability policy. This policy is in effect when you are volunteering as a pet therapy team with Gabriel’s Angels and are adhering to proper policies and procedures set forth by the registering agency and supported by Gabriel’s Angels.
Do I have to be consistent?
Consistency is paramount for building relationships with children; especially the at-risk population because they often feel forgotten and left behind. When a commitment is broken, at-risk children often take it personally, causing more issues with trust, self-esteem, attachment, respect, etc. Gabriel’s Angels requires a minimum commitment of six months. A pet therapy team visits for approximately 45 minutes to one hour weekly or every other week, so the time commitment is both minimal and manageable. We also request that each team responsibly participate in a last visit so that the children can experience healthy closure.  
Can a team cancel/change a visit?
Certainly, things come up in life that warrant a volunteer to cancel a visit or perhaps change their schedule. Planning is key. The team must notify both the Gabriel’s Angels’ Volunteer Coordinator and the facility contact, and whenever possible explain to the children at the visit prior to their absence, that they will not be able to be present at the next visit but will return during the following scheduled visit. This models appropriate communication with children and shows them they are respected, appreciated, and not being abandoned.
Can I volunteer in any other capacity outside of Gabriel's Angels once I am registered?
Yes, your pet therapy registration gives you the ability to visit other facilities (hospitals, hospice, rehabilitation centers). It is best practice to contact any facility you wish to volunteer with to verify the specific volunteer requirements.

Copyright © 2020 Gabriels Angels, All Rights Reserved

Charity ID (EIN): 86-0991198

Arizona QCO: 20449

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