Become Part of Pete's Pet Posse
Would you like to become part of Pete’s Pet Posse and help make a difference in the lives of students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the OSU campus?
If you are affiliated with OSU, and have an animal you think would work well as a therapy pet, you can apply by completing an application. Scholarships are also available. Applications are accepted each year during the months of August and September and must have the signature of your department head or supervisor, as well as the facilities manager.
The selection process takes approximately three months and training for the program begins in January. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program.
More About Applying
- Who Can Apply?
Pete’s Pet Posse encourages anyone affiliated with OSU to apply to the program; however, first preference will be given to OSU faculty and staff. The first priority of the program, as determined by the advisory board, is to have dogs available on campus and in the office. Dogs then do special appearances as requested and visit other locations across campus.
All other OSU affiliates who apply to the program will be given consideration based on the current needs of the program. Please note that an application does not guarantee admission to the program and class size is limited.
- Expectations Owners/Handlers
It is both an honor and privilege to be part of Pete’s Pet Posse, and with that comes certain responsibilities. If you and your animal are selected to participate as a pet therapy team, you will be asked to sign a contract. A sampling of the responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- The owner/handler will work with the department to determine the work schedule of the therapy dog and the role the pet therapy dog will play within the department.
- Once accepted into the program, dogs will not be allowed to visit campus in a pet therapy role until group training has been completed and the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) has been passed. Upon passing the CGC, pet therapy teams will then visit campus and practice for the national registration test with Alliance of Therapy Dogs.
- While on campus, the owner/handler must keep the dog on leash at all times and must use approved P3 gear provided by Pete's Pet Posse.
- Dogs shall not be fed a raw dog food diet.
- The owner/handler will be responsible for the hygiene of the dog. Pet must be clean and well-groomed when working.
- While at work, all fecal material must be discarded immediately in the appropriate waste receptacles.
- The work area shall remain neat and tidy.
- The owner/handler will be asked to track any visits outside of the normal scope of the animal’s work environment. A visit tracking form will be provided and should be submitted on a monthly basis. This will allow the Advisory Board to track the impact of the program – number of visits and number of people reached.
- The owner/handler may be expected to participate in various in-service training as determined necessary.
- Pete's Pet Posse teams may not conduct visits at non-OSU sponsored events representing the OSU pet therapy program. If a pet therapy team is asked to attend a non-sponsored OSU event, and the team agrees, the owner must remove all P3 gear purchased by the program and the visit should be conducted as a visit for Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Teams are nationally registered and may conduct pet therapy visits outside of OSU, but cannot represent the university when doing so.
- If at any time the owner/handler does not follow the contractual guidelines, the Advisory Board reserves the right to remove him/her from the program and all benefits provided will be lost. The animal will remain with the owner/handler.
- If the owner/handler chooses to leave the program with less than one year of service, the owner/handler will be required to reimburse the program for the cost of all benefits received up to the point of departure. The animal will remain with the owner/handler.
- The Application Process
Applications are accepted once per year, during the months of August and September. The application process takes approximately three months to complete. Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program. Scholarships are also available - please submit the scholarship application with the regular application form.
Once you have submitted an application to become part of Pete’s Pet Posse, the program coordinator will contact you (the owner/handler) to schedule an interview with a sub-committee of the advisory board. Once the interview is complete, the physical exam and disposition evaluation for the animal will be scheduled. You will be asked to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lara Sypniewski at the OSU Boren Veterinary Medical Hospital for the physical exam. The disposition evaluation is done by the P3 trainer, Dr. Alissa Huckabay. A $50 application fee is due at the time of the wellness exam and covers fees associated with the OSU Veterinary Medical Hospital. It is the responsibility of the department and the owner/handler to agree upon the payment of these fees prior to any appointment. Payment is due when services are rendered.
Once the interview, physical exam, and disposition evaluation are completed, the results are provided to the Pete’s Pet Posse Advisory Board. The Advisory Board makes the final determination on therapy teams accepted into the program. Applicants are notified of the Board’s decision in December and training begins in January.
If your animal is already certified/registered as a therapy animal, the same process and fees still apply.
Pet Therapy Advisory Board
The OSU Pet Therapy Advisory Board is comprised of individuals who have an interest in the OSU Pet Therapy program. In addition, they may represent key areas on campus that could benefit the greatest by having a therapy animal.
Board Members currently include:
- Kendria Cost, Director, OSU Center for Pet Therapy, Chair, Board of Advisors
- Ann Hargis, Former Oklahoma State University First Lady and Pete's Pet Posse Co-Founder
- Carlos Risco, Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine
- Trevor Richardson, Director, Counseling and Sport Psychology, OSU Athletics
- Elizabeth Carver-Cyr, Assistant Director, Residential Life, Family Resource Center
- Rachel Shreffler, Director, Health and Wellness, OSU Human Resources
- Brandee Hancock, Chief Legal Officer, Deputy General Counsel at OSU A&M Board of Regents
- Jesse Chaffin, Health and Wellness Manager, OSU-CHS; Program Coordinator of P3 OSU-Tulsa
- Suzanne Burks, Board of Advisors Emeritus, University Counseling Services
- Lara Sypniewski, DVM, OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital (non-voting member)
The role of the OSU-Stillwater Pet Therapy Advisory Board includes, but is not limited to:
- Oversees all aspects of the OSU Pet Therapy Program.
- Approves all animals accepted into the OSU-Stillwater program.
- Removes animals from the OSU-Stillwater program as needed.
- Reviews each pet therapy team accepted into the OSU-Stillwater program on a yearly basis.
- Oversees expansion to other OSU campuses as requested.
- Meets regularly to discuss the program and evaluate the effectiveness and direction.