Thank you for visiting our website. We are the pet therapy teams that work in Boulder County hospitals:
For more information about a specific program, click on the links above or click “Therapy Dog Programs” on the main menu. Here is some general information that applies to all. We are looking for the following traits in a dog:
A dog that is very calm,
A dog that is obedient and looks to you for direction, and
A dog that loves to be petted: i.e., the first person to interact with the dog is as important and receives as much affection as the 10th.
Dogs should be at least 2 years of age and handlers must be a minimum of 18 years of age. Successful completion of a formal obedience program, while not required, is highly recommended. Therapy dogs must be able to walk calmly on a loose lead. It is essential that your dog know basic commands (sit, stay, come, down) and be "comfortably controlled" by you in a variety of settings (in class, in a room with a few people, in a crowd, walking with you in an unfamiliar environment, etc).
There are currently wait lists. Most teams in our most recent classes had been on the list for a year or more. The training runs for four sessions, including week nights and Saturdays. Some dogs find, through the exercises we practice in class, that this is not something they really want to do. Others thrive. Following graduation, hospital requirements vary, but there may be a veterinarian-conducted behavioral exam, lab work (both at no cost to you), and attendance at the hospital's orientation program for new volunteers.
At the hospital, an average hospital visit will run about 2 hours; we may see from 6-10 patients, visiting them in their hospital rooms. We also visit the waiting rooms and the staff. Teams are assigned a day of the week, a time of day, and a floor for their visits - this way we assure dogs don't overlap, and everyone gets visits. It’s a wonderful volunteer activity to do with your dog.
If you are interested in signing up for more information about a specific hospital Therapy Dog program, click on the desired hospital program link at the top of this page and read through the information and then fill out the application form on that desired hospital page.
Note: Our hospitals require that therapy dog teams be Registered prior to attending class. Registration provides liability insurance when you do volunteer work with your dog. Recognized registries for our programs include Therapy Dogs Incorporated (www.therapydogs.com), PetPartners(www.petpartners.org, and Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org).
Special Note: The assessment, training and orientation of therapy dogs for hospital work is a lengthy and complex process. For that reason, we expect at least a one- year commitment from our volunteers.