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Pet Therapy

Introduction

Pet therapy is a very rewarding activity that almost anyone can participate in. The only requirements are a well behaved pet and a desire to have a positive impact on people's lives. At this time, White River Golden Retriever Club members are making regular visits to nursing homes and hospitals. There have also been numerous requests for visits to all types of institutions. There certainly is no shortage of people and places to visit.

The visits to the nursing homes and hospitals consist of spending a couple of minutes with any resident/patient who would like to spend some time with your pet. The vast majority of the people enjoy the simple distraction of being able to touch your dog and talk about their own faithful companions. While the time spent with each individual patient/resident is short, the impact is great..

While some facilities may not require certification of your animal, it is highly recommended. There are a number of organizations that evaluate, help in training, and certify animals for pet therapy visits. In addition, once certified, most organizations provide you with liability insurance when doing pet therapy visits in an institution. Most hospitals will require certification of your dog and/or may have their own certification program.  For more information on Certification, check the link for Certification on this web site.

It's a toss-up as to who benefits most from the visits; patients, staff, visitors or the people doing the visits. With just a little time and effort, you can make someone's day, and walk away feeling very good yourself.

How do I start?

It appears that a lot of people would like to do Pet Therapy visits, but just aren't sure how to get started. A lot of questions run through your mind when you begin to think about making visits to a nursing home or hospital. "Is my dog capable?"  "What do I do?"  "Who do I contact?"  "What facilities are available?"  "What do I say to people?"  "How do I know if someone wants a visit?"

The best way to get started is to contact one of the people below who are currently doing Pet Therapy visits. Anyone on the list would be happy to answer questions or have you go along with them on one of their visits. This will give you the opportunity to see how easy and rewarding it is. I think you'll be amazed how much of a positive impact your visits will have on patients, staff, visitors and yourself!

Name Facility
Debbie Beemer Nursing Home - Lebanon
Every other weekend
Mary Liz Freund Nursing Home - Indianapolis
Sundays & Wednesday Evenings
Dave & Sandi Larson Nursing Home - Lebanon
St. Vincent Hospital - Indianapolis
Every other weekend
Susie Rezy Nursing Home - Lebanon
Every other weekend
Carolyn Wheeler Nursing Home - Indianapolis
Methodist Hospital - Indianapolis (Tues 6:30PM)
Pat & Jill Wildemann Nursing Home - Plainfield

Certification

In 2000 and 2001 WRGRC Members have had a total of 32 Goldens certified by Therapy Dogs International. The primary reason we have used Therapy Dogs International is that there is a TDI, Inc. evaluator in the central Indiana area. Another very good program in the area is the Indianapolis Humane Society Pet Partners program which uses the Delta Society certification program. They run their certification programs on a regular basis at the Indianapolis Humane Society.  For more information on any of these programs, please click on the links below.

References

Therapy Dogs International, Inc.
TDI is a volunteer group organized to provide qualified handlers and their Therapy Dogs for visitations to institutions, facilities, and any other place where Therapy Dogs are needed. TDI is a non-profit organization. There is no charge for visitations. All funds are derived from associate membership dues. Donations or bequests are welcome.
Delta Society®
Delta Society is an international, non-profit, human service organization with a very unique mission. Uniting millions of Americans who have mental and physical illnesses and disabilities with professionally trained therapy animals and service dogs, Delta Society programs promote human health and well-being through interactions with companion animals.
Therapy Dogs, Inc.
has a goal to help dog owners use their dogs for therapy work in various places such as nursing homes, hospitals and schools, as well as work with the mentally and physically handicapped. Their objective is to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special animals in order to bring happiness and cheer to people who need something to hold and love. All dogs, purebred and mixed breeds are welcome.
Contact Webmaster Last Updated 22 July 2005
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