Your Pet + Wexner Medical Center = Magic!
Pet Pals Tucker and Genie, ready to brighten the day at Ohio State.
Imagine facing an extended stay in the hospital – without the chance to spend quality time with your pets.
If that sounds like a downer, you can help! The Pet Pals program at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is always looking for new four-legged friends to cheer up patients and staff.
Why participate? Think of the feelings your own pets give you. They comfort you when you're feeling down, make you laugh, listen quietly when you talk, and brighten your day.
In fact, research studies show that people with dogs are generally more active, have lower blood pressure, lower stress, and lower risk of chronic disease.
Once you and your pet are both certified, you can pick volunteer shifts that suit your schedule. Then, patients who ask their care team for a Pet Pal get to spend some rejuvenating time with your dog.
It's an aww-inspiring experience for everyone.
Take Emily, a staff nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center, who participates in Pet Pals with her dogs Tucker and Genie. She has witnessed firsthand the magic and healing that occurs when dogs visit patients and staff on the unit.
"I was diagnosed more than two years ago with breast cancer," she explains. "My own pet therapy team at home did wonders for my healing. To visit and promote healing is a way for me to give back."
How to become a Pet Pal
- Complete a community volunteer application
- Complete a background check (through the Wexner Medical Center)
- Attend Volunteer Orientation and sign a patient confidentiality form (including HIPAA)
- Obtain a volunteer ID and volunteer uniform (shirt costs $22 plus tax)
- Be at least one year of age, in good health and up-to-date on vaccinations
- Complete an approved pet visitation program such as Pet Partners, Alliance of Therapy Dogs (formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc.) or Therapy Dogs International
The volunteer and dog will meet with an Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center volunteer coordinator for a personal interview and practice visit.