For Patients and Families
Who can get a dog visit?
Hospitalized patients can get a dog visit if they meet certain criteria (such as no allergies or asthma) and a visit is approved by both the patient's phsyician and the parent/guardian. Currently, the therapy dogs may visit only specific inpatient areas.
What happens during a dog visit?
Some of our dogs visit patient's rooms and some of them visit the resource rooms on the floors. Once the visit is scheduled, the patient decides how he or she wants to interact with the dog. The dogs may sit on the floor, a chair, or on a clean sheet on the patient's bed. The patient may pet, play with, talk to, or watch the dog. Siblings and other family members are encouraged to interact with the therapy dogs as well. However, at no time may food be offered to any of the therapy dogs during a visit, since they are on the job! Before leaving for the day, every Pawprints dog is offered special treats by the hospital to say "thank you" for a job well done.
How long are the visits?
The length of each visit varies depending on the number of patients to be visited that day, the preferences of the patient, and any of the patient's healthcare needs (such as scheduled tests or procedures). Visits typically last between 5 and 10 minutes.
Who owns the dogs?
Children's volunteers from the community own the dogs. The dogs live with their family and visit the hospital twice a month with their owner. The dogs do not live at the hospital.
Can my own dog visit?
Only dogs and volunteers who meet the hospital's requirements and have gone through the application process may visit. (Please note that these requirements do not apply to service dogs, which are allowed in the hospital.)
Can I get a visit from another kind of pet?
Children's staff carefully reviewed available information to assure that the dog visits can occur in a hospital without increasing the chances of passing germs to patients. Unfortunately, this type of information is not currently available for other types of pets, which is why only dogs are allowed to visit with patients at this time.