- Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 


Volunteer Hospital dog.

July 23rd, 2005, 10:36 AM
Ok, this is a post for a friend of mine. She has a lab mix, and has been told by many that she should have him as a hospital dog, to go in and see the sick children in hospitals (kinda like pet therapy). She has been thinking about this. But is concerened about a few things. 1) Would her dog be able to catch something serious from the patients, and bring it back, and her baby boy gets sick from it? and 2) What would she need to do, to be able to do this?

Background information on the dog, just incase that is needed. SHe has a lab mix neutered male. He will be 2 years old in November. He is up to date on shots. He wieghs about 40-45 pounds. He loves children, and is really good with not jumping. He listens well, and isn't rough during play. He is microchipped, and goes to the vet for yearly check ups as well.

Golden Girls
July 23rd, 2005, 11:52 AM
Not too sure of all the legalities but I would think if she would call the hospital director - they would be able to give her rules and all the details. I believe there are members on this board that also work at hospitals who will better be able to help you.

I know though just the sight of an animal cheers up most children - even more so the sick.

We have a hospital for the elderly nearby and one of my neighbor's is a nurse and has told me a family member brings a dog when visiting a relative and a certain patient allow's this nurse to give his much needed daily blood sample only when he gets to pet this dog otherwise it takes 4 people to hold him down. :)

I wasn't aware of this b4, but this neighbor told me my dog's are celebrities with some patients there (as park is facing hospital where I walk them). It seems to be a major topic when I'm late :D

Anyhow, what a wonderful idea - good luck!

July 23rd, 2005, 12:13 PM
We have a pet therapy program (YY is a member but she has inside help getting in ;) ) and it takes considerable time for the people who operate the program to assess a pet's temperment and whether the dog or cat or bunny is a suitable candidate. They are very very choosy and most pets do not make the cut. The pets HAVE to be calm and not excitable and absolutely MUST listen to commands from their people. Then there is a training program. It's highly selective and even if they make the cut, they often are deemed not appropriate even after the training program.

There are only a few illnesses that are transferable to pets from humans and vice versa and the people in our program would never permit a pet who was ill near a patient. By the same token, her dog would almost certainly never be permitted near a patient who would be in the situation of having an illness communicable to pets- it is so miniscule that it has never occured in our hospital.

I do not know how their program operates and even if they have one but she should contact the hospital and inquire. If they do not take her - they usually have a quota and training periods are often done in groups (at least in ours) - she could also make inquiries of seniors' "homes".

Very few dogs or cats actually are accepeted. Labs are rambunctious and while very friendly, tend to quite energetic. I know my brother's lab - a real sweetheart - was rejected because of his energetic zeal!! (and he listens extremely well but he is just too rambunctious and might accidentally hurt someone.) Of course, she can train her lab to be suitable. It is not as simple as asking to go visit the hopsital - as good an idea as it is. But these are ill people or in our case, children - and pets HAVE to be quiet, NEVER scratch or bite, unafraid of new people, NEVER jump on anyone. Some pets are instinctive at helping people. My bunny was like that and YY seems to be too - she is a lap kitty and loves to be held. Not all cats do, as you prob know.

July 23rd, 2005, 12:35 PM
Thanks guys, I will pass this information onto my friend.

Apollo (the dog) is very calm usually. 90% of the time when I had him with me last week, while my friend was in NY, all he did was lay on the floor, or follow me around. Only barked if the door bell rang. I know that right there has to be stopped, for the hospital thing.

July 24th, 2005, 11:04 PM
Here there is a course for the St John Ambulance Therepy Dogs.All dogs are carefully assest.

Here is the link to the one here.There are actually 2 Labs and a Lab mix.
You can see the pics of the dogs.Hooper the Great Dane is such a BIG suck....LOL...Tron has played with him a few times at the off-leash area beside the SPCA.

Your friend should see what pet therepy training services there are in her area. :)

July 25th, 2005, 12:50 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't people with weakened immune systems supposed to stay away from cats? Dogs are supposedly fine, but cats carry viruses and bacteria that a healthy human would not be susceptible to, but the weaker ones can catch. :confused:

July 25th, 2005, 01:59 PM
I'm not sure if there is anything that can be transferred from person to dog, but my friend's dog is a thearpy dog. What she had to do was go through basic obediance classes, then do a therapy dog course and take a K9 good citizenship test that Cassie (the dog) had to pass to become a therapy dog.

The dog has to be good with people, quiet, and must know it's commands very well, especially the leave it command because if there is a pill or something else that could possibly be deadly on the floor they must listen immedatly to leave it so they don't eat it and get sick.