|Barked: Sun Jan 20, '13 4:13pm PST |
|Since finding this thread after googling something related and posting above (1st 2 before I created Molly's profile) I've read all the posts more thoroughly and am more and more disturbed by the false information and negative impressions of Delta/Pet Partners - especially because this thread did come up on google.
I'd just like to add to my previous posts (including the very long detailed one) that 2nd and 3rd hand information is always subject to interpretation clouded by emotion - especially where our relationships with our dogs are concerned. If there is one thing I've learned in the 14 years of being involved with animal assisted activities & therapy - over 10 as a licensed Pet Partners Evaluator/Instructor and affiliate director - it is how hypersensitive we all can be about anything pertaining to our relationships with our dogs.
More importantly I'd like to share that when I first became a Pet Partners Evaluator I too heard an instructor talking about other programs with what sounded at the time like arrogance and I immediately thought how unbecoming and unprofessional it was. I couldn't understand why various groups wouldn't be more supportive of one another. Then I learned - over time - not only how profound those differences are but also how important the higher standards of practice those of Delta/Pet Partners are. Like a seatbelt you don't know how important it is until something happens and you don't have it. And you can certainly drive from point A to point B many times without it before realizing how important it is.
It's not just about being "safe" it's also about client comfort (including those we may not be interacting with directly due to fears or allergies) and maximizing benefits. It's easy to get a lot of positive reinforcement for doing this work with our dogs (or other pets with Delta/Pet Partners) and even easier to assume that in the absence of actual concrete complaints that all is rosey. It's not. Clients are not likely to complain about an activity like this unless something goes terribly wrong but that doesn't mean all is rosey. I could give many many examples to the contrary - quite a few examples of practices and the negative impression left from registered therapy teams from other programs we use in our training as what NOT to do - most of which have nothing to do with what would come up in a test.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression and there are many medical and educational professionals in a position to either red or green light a new program based on negative impressions left by previous experience with programs with lower standards. Of course there will always be individuals who fail to maintain standards in every program and it is unfair to judge the entire program based on those individuals. But the best way to minimize those aberrations is to insist on comprehensive universal screening, training and program implementation practices as Delta/Pet Partners does.
It's easy to criticize a program you have limited first hand knowledge or experience with who has higher standards of practice as being "arrogant" or having a self serving agenda of some sort - everyone wants the easy button - but I hear very few people criticize Pet Partners who have actually completed the Pet Partners training and registration process - including many who have registered with multiple registries (TDI is the only registry who does not allow multiple registries) - you just don't know until you do know. And those who do criticize Pet Partners from the "inside" (for the VAST most part) agree whole heartedly that it's still by far the most comprehensive - and necessarily so. They take this work very seriously - as all who have an interest should - and although it's unfortunate that so many candidates view that as "arrogant" or what I've also heard it referred to as "overkill" it's not about pleasing the volunteers it's about helping people in need as safely and effectively as possible - and it's about maintaining the credibility and respect this work deserves.
Nobody wants to make it any harder to help people than it needs to be, certainly myself included. But that's no reason to take the fast and easy way - or to criticize others who take a more comprehensive approach.
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