GRRMF Hearts of Gold

GRRMF Hearts of Gold

We are very excited to announce that our “Hearts of Gold” therapy team has finished the  organizational process and is currently accepting members.  GRRMF has partnered with Project PUP in our Mid-Florida area of coverage to establish a special team of handlers and dogs to represent GRRMF at community events and provide therapeutic visitation to those in need.

Since our Hearts of Gold team will come under Project PUP’s insurance umbrella, to participate as a member of the therapy team, all handler/dog teams must obtain a Project PUP certification by attending a full screening evaluation. Please visit their website at projectpup.net for information about their mission,  requirements and evaluation schedules held on the second Saturday of odd-numbered months.  Upon certification, Project PUP will issue a doggie badge for the handler/dog team and GRRMF will provide a special GRRMF bandana. We are also finalizing plans for a Hearts of Gold badge and a special handler t-shirt.

On January 12th, our first seven Hearts of Gold GRRMF Gentle Paws ambassadors passed their screening evaluation and received their Project PUP certification as a therapy dog!  Congratulations to Lexi (handler Bambi), Chance and Bella (handlers Cathy and Marc), Bailey and Rocky (handler Ginger), Duke (handler Tom), and Tanner (handler Rodger).

GRRMF alums or GRRMF volunteers with dogs already certified by Project PUP are encouraged to join our Hearts of Gold therapy team and have your information added to our roster so we can contact you when a therapy visit is requested. Use this link to get your team information to our coordinators.  Handler/Dog Team information When the form is received and reviewed, a coordinator will be in touch with you.

Animal therapy is becoming widely accepted and the benefits others receive from a visit are priceless. Our special pups have so much compassion to give to others and they totally enjoy the interaction with each person or child.  As a handler tagging along on the other end of the leash, you will experience the pure joy that happens when your pup enters a room. Not all dogs and their people may be ready for this experience and here is a checklist to see if therapy work is a good fit for you and your pup at this time. Helpful Hints Checklist

GRRMF will be holding pre-screening events at the Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive, Largo, FL,  33771 from 10:00 am to noon in the Jenkins Wing, Room C to help you and your dog prepare for the Project PUP final assessment. You will receive helpful tips and one-on-one feedback so you can practice your skills and arrive at your Project PUP evaluation session full of confidence.

Our currently scheduled pre-screen dates are:

Saturday, February 9th

Saturday, March 23rd

More dates will be scheduled throughout the year. The cost to participate in a pre-screening event is $20 payable to GRRMF. Those interested in attending can contact coordinators Bambi and Ginger at GRRMFTherapypups@grrmf.org for more information.

As our program grows, we will expand our pre-screening locations to cover central and east coast handler/dog teams based on submissions received from new teams interested in joining.  Although most of our dogs will be GRRMF alums, your dog does not need to be a golden or golden blend to participate as we also need small dogs for special facilities.  However, the handler must be a GRRMF volunteer or adopter to be eligible to join the GRRMF Hearts of Gold therapy team.

We are currently looking for volunteers to work behind the scenes in researching pre-screening space, administrative duties, facility management, and role-playing at the different mock testing areas.  If you are interested in raising your paws to help us with these important start up tasks and have a GRRMF volunteer application on file, please send a note to GRRMFTherapypups@grrmf.org. If you do not have an application on file, please click on this link to complete one and a coordinator will be in touch with you when it is received.  volunteer application

Currently under construction is our Hearts of Gold visitation calendar which will be linked to this page for you to see opportunities to join us at various therapy visits that may be of interest to you.  This calendar will be available in February.

If you are aware of facilities that would have an interest in scheduling visits with our Hearts of Gold therapy team, please share their information with us by completing the form on this link. Facility Form

Watch for further updates about our exciting new partnership with Project PUP and our mid-Florida communities which we have serviced for 28 years!