Therapeutic Dog Program

The Therapeutic Dog Visitation program involves volunteers bringing their dog to visit patients residing in the hospital. This program is co-facilitated with the Recreation Therapist and provides interactive, stimulating activity that has been shown to get a response from patients who are withdrawn or have limited abilities. Therapy dogs provide an opportunity for patients to give and receive physical touch, display affection, and increase positive emotion.

Requirements & Desirable Characteristics of the Handler:

  • Minimum age requirement: 18 years and older
  • Reliable and trustworthy
  • Punctual, warm and caring, cheerful, patient and friendly
  • Interested in working with older adults
  • Ability to respect the privacy and feelings of others
  • Be a good listener
  • Ability to initiate a conversation
  • Successful competition of a Vulnerable Sector Police Clearance
  • TB Skin Test
  • Successful completion of RLMCMH screening appointment (volunteer and their dog will be evaluated by Hospital Staff to determine suitability for the program)

Requirements & Desirable Characteristics of the Dog:

Your dog should be tolerable to:

  • Strangers
  • Other dogs
  • Fast movements
  • Strange objects
  • Children
  • Loud noises
  • Slippery surfaces

Dog’s with the following temperaments are appropriate for this program:

  • Quiet
  • Friendly
  • Calm
  • Playful

The following core vaccinations for your dog are required:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Rabies
  • Canine Hepatitis


  • Volunteers are asked to make regularly scheduled weekly or bi-weekly visits at a specified time for approximately one hour which will be tracked through a sign in & out sheet.