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Paws to Pet Program

Paws to Pet Program

Specially trained dogs certified by Therapy Dogs International help to provide a soothing, familiar emotional experience for patients that can provide a positive impact on their health. Our pet therapy program is called Paws to Pet, and it strives to:

  • create a more enjoyable hospital experience while improving physiological and psychological well-being of the patient.
  • soften the impact of the medical environment by giving patients an opportunity to give and receive warmth and unconditional love from an animal.
  • reduce feelings of isolation and promote giving and receiving support.

Only dogs that meet specific requirements are certified. Click here to learn more about their training and testing requirements.

The program is comprised of about a dozen dogs, representing a variety of breeds and mixed breeds. The age of the dogs varies as well. The dogs are owned by their adult handlers, not the hospital. Their handlers are trained Hendricks Regional Health volunteers.

The dogs generally make rounds throughout the hospital in the afternoons or evenings, but it depends on the handlers' schedules. Because spreading joy and rounding the hospital can be pretty hard work for these friendly pooches, they typically do not stay at the hospital longer than two hours per shift.

Since establishing Paws to Pet, the program has not only brought joy to patients but visitors as well. The dogs are warmly received in patient waiting areas, particularly in the intensive care family waiting area where family members often feel a considerable amount of stress and anxiety over their loved one's condition. The canine companions provide an extra ounce of compassion that patients and their families appreciate in times of need. This service is just one more way for Hendricks Regional Health to reach out and treat our patients and visitors better.

For more information about Paws to Pet, call the guest and volunteer services department at (317) 745-3557.

Contact Us

Call (317) 745-3557