Now just how would someone participate in a canine-focused organization with the name “Fidos” in it if they didn’t have a dog themselves? Simple, they could become a dogless handler!
The name is also a description. Dogless handlers are those folks who don’t have dogs of their own, but handle someone else’s “extra” dog. What do we mean by “extra” dog? Glad you asked! Fidos regulations require that we have a 1:1 human-canine ratio for any event we attend. That means one dog per person. Well, some folks have more than one dog in the program. Thus, they’re often left with the dilemma of leaving one of their Therapy Dogs at home. This is where a dogless handler comes in. A dogless handler would accompany the Therapy Dog team on their visit and handle the “extra” dog!
Not only does this provide the TD experience for the extra dog, it also gives the handlers peace of mind knowing that they can bring both of their “crew” with them. And, more than that, it also gives us a chance to do more of what we do well. Lemme give you an example. Let’s say we’ve got three teams visiting a nursing home. The visit lasts one hour. Since we don’t send our teams in “solo”, all three teams do their room-to-room visits together. At an average of 5 minutes per visit, they’d only get to visit 12 people! Now, bring in a dogless handler. That’d give us four teams that we could break into two pairs. Each pair still averages 5 minutes per visit, but that extra handler has now allowed us to double the number of rooms we visit from 12 to 24!
So, how do you become a dogless handler? Once again, it’s simple. Complete the handler’s training class, on site training sessions and observation visits and you will be ready to begin
working with our Therapy Dogs. As for which dogs to work with . . . well, there’s two ways to approach it. You could go to the Fidos website and see ALL the events we do, and then decide which ones best fit into your schedule. We’d then contact the site coordinator and see if we have any extra dogs that need handling for that visit.
Or, you could just show up on Wednesday nights for training. While you’re there, you can work with several dogs. Then, you can talk to their human companions and see what visits they do and whether they’d like someone to handle their extra dog.
Yeah, it’s that easy.
So your first step is to sign up for the next Handler’s Training Class. To do that, contact us.