How To Become an Ambassador Team
To ensure that you, your animal, and the people you will visit all benefit from the experience, all teams must follow the steps below before you begin visiting. Becoming a WAGS Ambassador Team is not an short, easy process and may take 6 months or more from the time you join to your first visit with your dog. Many of the people we visit with our animals must be handled with care and it is important that all of our WAGS Ambassadors meet the highest standards of behavior, sociability, manners, and health for the safety and well-being of the facilities and the populations that we visit. The steps below allow our members to demonstrate this high level of care and dedication to their dogs and the people we share them with.
Requirements for the Ambassador Team Handler
We welcome young handlers to visit with their animals. A handler must be at least 12 years old to test and visit with an animal. Handlers younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for all WAGS meetings, visits, and events and must have their parent or guardian’s written permission to participate.
A handler is allowed to test and visit as an Ambassador Team with a dog that they do not own as long as they have the written permission of the animal’s owner and the animal meets our Pet Ambassador Requirements.
Fill out registration packet and health screening forms provided to you during WAGS 101.
Volunteer to assist with a WAGS Ambassador Evaluation before you and your dog test.
Sign-up for the WAGS Ambassador Evaluation. Evaluations take place four times each year. See our calendar for upcoming evaluations.
You must pass the evaluation with a Level 1, 2, or 3. This number is based on how well your team did in your evaluation and will help you determine which facilities will be the best fit for you and your team.
As a newly certified team (Congratulations!) you will complete a Mentored Visit with one of our designated Mentors who will evaluate and support your team through your visit. Their job is to make sure your first visit runs smoothly and that your dog is performing as well during their visit as they did in their exam.
Once you have passed your exam and completed your mentored visit, it is time to choose a facility to visit that best suits the personality of you and your pet. If you aren’t sure, reach out to your Buddy assigned at orientation, your mentor, a skilled assistant, or another member (it’s great to make friends!) and talk to them about their thoughts and experiences.
If in doubt, just ask! Everyone at WAGS believes in the importance of sharing our animals with others and would love to help a new member however we can.
What does an Ambassador Team do?After you’ve completed all of the steps above, your Ambassador team has opportunities to visit all types of facilities depending upon your schedule and degree of comfort with the environment. Schools, hospitals, nursing homes and libraries are just a few of the places our pets provide support.
During your visit, residents of the facility may pet, brush or simply look at your animal. Small animals may be carefully placed on an individual’s lap or even on their bed. This is only with their permission, of course. If your animal enjoys performing tricks then, they will have a grateful audience where the smiles are a mark of appreciation! Even though entertaining tricks can be fun for everyone, certainly they are not required to be considered an excellent Ambassador team. Sometimes, just sitting quietly next to an individual or listening to a child read is all that is expected!