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FAQ

photocredit: PALS
Have a question? The answer may be here! If not then please do not hesitate to contact the office and we would be delighted to help you.

What species of animals do you have in PALS?

PALS has dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and ferrets. Other species may be considered but require Board approval.

Can I volunteer with my pet iguana?
PALS has to be careful when it comes to exotics. Some species such as reptiles and amphibians can carry salmonella bacteria on their skin so we do not consider either of these species. All exotics are individually assessed.

What types of dogs do you accept?
PALS accepts all breeds and crossbreeds; however we do not accept hybrids that are the result of a domestic and non-domestic breeding i.e. wolf/dog cross

Are there breeds that are better suited to PALS?
Generally speaking, breeds that were developed to be companion animals are more inherently inclined to be attracted to people. We do have a lot of Retrievers in the program but this could be due to the general popularity of the Labradors and Goldens. Some of the northern breeds, when bred true to their breed standards, can be somewhat aloof so do not make good PALS dogs but, the truth is, for every generalization, there is an exception.

How old does my pet have to be?
PALS accepts animals that are one year or older. We know that puppies and kittens are very cute but, unfortunately, they like to use their teeth and nails. Puppies are also notoriously unpredictable in their bathroom habits and tend to have accidents when they get excited or scared.

Do you accept senior pets into the program?
All animals new to the PALS program are subject to the following upper age limits: Dogs weighing less than 50 lbs must be younger than 10 years old on the date of screening. Dogs weighing 50 lbs or more must be younger than 8 years old on the date of screening.
Cats must be under 7 years of age on the date of screening.
Rabbits must be under 5 years of age on the date of screening.
Guinea Pigs and Ferrets must be under 4 years of age on the date of screening.
Age and weight will be based on information provided on the Pet Health Assessment that is completed by the pet's veterinarian prior to the acceptance of the animal's application. Depending on your availability and what part of the year it is when you apply, the time between application and screening could be six months. Seniors can have underlying health issues which may make visiting contraindicated. In addition, many senior pets may find the slippery floors, stairs, heat and attention tiring.

What types of vaccinations are required?
PALS only requires that your pet have a current rabies vaccination (except for rabbits). However, your pet will be in contact with other pets who may frequent off-leash areas, dog shows and rural areas. For your own pets protection, we strongly recommend that your pet have all of its shots.

Is there some kind of “test” for the pets?
PALS has a screening procedure that all PALS animals must pass.  It includes sociability toward other animals and people, and reactions to strange equipment, all types of handling and loud noises.  We are looking for pets that will enjoy what they are going to do, respond well to the residents, and are well mannered and in control.

Does the pet need to be spayed or neutered?
PALS does not require that your pet be spayed or neutered. Owners of intact females that are in season are asked to keep their pet at home.

Does a dog need to have formal obedience training?
A dog needs only to be well socialized and have manners but what better place to get these than in dog classes. If your dog does not sit, down, stay, not jump up or be good/quiet on command it will probably fail.

Does my cat need to be declawed?
However you will have to invest in a pair of kitty nail trimmers and learn to clip its claws.

My pet is blind in one eye, can he still be a PALS pet?
A disability which will remain unchanged over time would not preclude a pet from being a part of PALS. However, our screeners would look for signs of tenderness and pain. They would also test to see if the animals behavior had changed i.e. showing fear or uncertainty when approached from the non-sighted side.

My pet has diabetes can he still be a PALS pet?
Pets that have disabilities that might be unstable or progressive probably should not visit but, again, only your veterinarian would be able to make that determination.

My dog loves people but sometimes snaps at other dogs.  Can he be a PALS dog?
Some of our teams have 10 - 12 pets on them and often they are required to be together in an enclosed space such as an elevator. For the safety of all involved, part of our testing includes determining if your pet will respond aggressively towards another animal. We should point out that small dogs are not given any special consideration, so they must be able to handle being in close proximity to even giant breeds.
What can I do to help my new puppy become a PALS dog?
Socialization and lots of it. Take your pup everywhere you can. Get them used to the world around them and all that it holds. Teach them manners. Enroll them in puppy classes. Correct all behavior that, even though cute in a pup, could be problematic in an adult. Make them work for everything so they know that you are their master. Praise them constantly so they come to know that your voice is the best sound in the world. If you run into difficulties with behavior, get a professionals help to work through it.

What can I do to help my new kitten become ready for PALS?
Again socialization is the key. Ensure that the kitten has lots of positive social interaction with people and other pets. Discourage all rough play. Get them accustomed to both car rides and being on leash.

My little dog is frightened of large dogs.  Could I be placed on a team that only has small dogs?
With many active volunteers to administer, the program needs pets that are versatile regarding what sorts of situations they feel comfortable being in.