How does a patient or family member make a request for a pet therapy visit?
Request a pet therapy visit through your provider or the nursing staff in your department. Pending approval by your department, the request will be sent to the therapy dog team. The therapy dog team will make every effort to fill special requests for visits.
What is the difference between a service dog, a therapy dog, and a companion dog?
Service dogs are working dogs. They do not want to be touched because they have a job to do. Conversely, therapy dogs love to be stroked and snuggled. Companion dogs will assist and provide companionship to individuals.
Are the therapy dogs residents of Altru?
No. All dogs in the Altru therapy dog program are the personal pets of their volunteer handlers.
My dog is really nice. Can I bring him/her in to visit?
Certified therapy dogs are not your average family pet. They go through extensive training to become gentle-natured in all circumstances. Beyond therapy or service dogs, we do not allow outside pets.
I’m scared of dogs. What if I don’t want to be around a therapy dog?
Therapy dogs sense who does and doesn’t like them. They understand the human vibe, and know who to approach and who not to approach. Therapy dogs will only visit patient rooms per the patient’s consent. Additionally, therapy dogs are always with their handler.
I’m allergic to dogs. Will the therapy dog make me sick?
The dander of therapy dogs is well controlled. The risk is very minimal.
What about safety and infection control?
Altru’s therapy dogs are screened for appropriate behavior. They have been evaluated and trained to be therapy dogs. They are required to be clean and vaccinated.
How do we become a Therapy Dog Team at Altru?
All Altru therapy dog teams have been evaluated, and hold membership in a pet therapy organization, such as Alliance of Therapy Dogs. Contact Volunteer Services at 701-780-5125 for more information.