Hope & Healing: The UF Health Blog

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.

NICAP Pet Program

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 nicap@health.ufl.edu or 352-273-6961.

About the Author

Rossana Passaniti's picture

Rossana Passaniti

Media Relations Coordinator/UF Health

Rossana Passaniti, CMP, serves as the primary media contact for all news outlets, and identifies sources, arranges interviews, obtains patient consent and provides patient condition reports to the media as...Read More