The benefits of animal companionship are well-documented, and studies have shown that spending time with an animal can reduce stress levels and help manage pain, improve moods, promote healing after surgery and physical therapy sessions, lower blood pressure levels… and so much more! When patients are ill or injured, the associated stress can lead to anxiety, depression and decreased satisfaction with the care they receive.
UC HEALTH REQUIREMENTS
In order to be eligible to become a Pet Therapy Volunteer, your dog must pass a temperament evaluation. This means they should be friendly and warm around all people, regardless of gender or age, and must not exhibit aggression towards other animals. Some requirements to consider before having your dog evaluated for our volunteer program include, but are not limited to:
- All dogs and handlers must pass an evaluation by a Certified TDI Evaluator.
- Dogs must be at least 18 months of age and out of the “puppy phase”.
- Handlers must be at least 18 years of age.
- Dogs must be up to date on all vaccinations.
- Dogs must be able to perform basic commands (sit, stay, down, etc.) on a leash.
- Dogs must get along with other dogs.
- Dogs must be comfortable in busy, unfamiliar surroundings.
THERAPY DOG INTERNATIONAL (TDI)
UC Health partners with Therapy Dog International (TDI®) for all testing and vaccination requirements. TDI is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to evaluating dogs and their handlers on their ability to safely interact with individuals at facilities, like UC Health, and any other place where Therapy Dogs are needed.
For more information or to register your dog with TDI, please visit www.tdi-dog.org.
HOW TO BECOME A PET THERAPY VOLUNTEER
Before becoming a Pet Therapy Volunteer at UC Health, you must obtain certification through TDI.
Adults must be 18 years of age or older to qualify. Applications can be submitted anytime, and applicants are contacted periodically throughout the year as opportunities become available.
If you have a canine interested in being a pet therapy dog, please email us at: UCHVolunteerServices@uchealth.com
Due to current visitor restrictions, pet therapy volunteer opportunities at UC Health may be limited to public areas based on location. Access to patient floors is currently restricted.