What is a Love on a Leash Chapter?
A Chapter, though unique in personality, should reflect the purpose and function of Love on a Leash® – to support and guide certified pet therapy teams and teams in training, upholding the organization’s high standards and values. As subsidiaries of the national organization, Chapters are not “groups”, “clubs”, or “teams” presided over by individual members; they are formed for the purpose of providing a single point of contact in the community for potential members as well as facilities seeking pet therapy visits. Chapters offer mentorship, socialization (pet and human!), scheduled group visits, and sometimes additional training opportunities to certified Love on a Leash® members.
Word spreads when the community sees therapy pets at work. When a facility hears about the positive experience another facility is having with Love on a Leash®, they frequently become interested in establishing a program for their facility. If community members see a team at work, they often want to know more about pet therapy. Local papers and TV stations are always eager to share “feel good stories” on the news, and pet therapy certainly fits the bill!
Benefits of joining a Chapter
While Love on a Leash® members are never required to join a chapter, many of our members find that affiliating with their local chapter(s) enhances the Love on a Leash experience. A Chapter provides support, motivation, and social interaction for members and their pets. More teams mean a greater variety of pets, talents, and interests. Visiting together can also help to relieve the sometimes stressful aspect of the work; sharing visit experiences also provides new members the opportunity to be mentored by more experienced members. Additionally, it is good to be assured that other members will visit a facility if you are unable to go on a scheduled visit. Members are welcome to affiliate with multiple chapters near their permanent residence, or in different cities if they have seasonal homes. There are never additional fees for members to affiliate with Love on a Leash® chapters.
Chapters may not implement additional rules or requirements that contradict or negate National Love on a Leash® Guidelines. Chapters should make participation as easy as possible for all certified Love on a Leash® teams and must regard other certified Love on a Leash® members they meet within their communities with courtesy and respect, honoring their decision to not join the chapter. No Love on a Leash® member may be required to go on a minimum number of visits or attend meetings or social events to maintain their certification.