A Gentle Paw
A wagging tail, a cold nose, a gentle paw. Our canine companions can be the best stress relievers at the end of a long day. For dog lovers, “man’s best friend” is exactly that, and for hospitalized patients with pets at home, it can be hard to be away from them.
Fortunately, pet therapy volunteers and their own dogs have been spreading cheer to patients, visitors and staff at UF Health hospitals since 1995. At the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital, these teams brighten the days of patients admitted to the hospital as well as of those in the waiting room at the UF Health neurology and neurosurgery practices.
A dedicated team of graduate students affiliated with the Neuromedicine Interdisciplinary Clinical and Academic Program, or NICAP, in the UF College of Medicine is working to increase the number of pet therapy teams visiting the neuro hospital from the current 12 to 50.
How to Volunteer
To become a volunteer team in the pet therapy program, individuals with dogs must complete an application process that includes online orientation, proof of pet vaccinations, proof of an applicant’s immunizations and several onsite shadowing opportunities.
For additional application details, visit the Pet Therapy page on the NICAP website. For more information, contact the NICAP program at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-273-6961.