Pet Therapy

Because we know that the relationships between pets and the people who love them are so important and beneficial to both parties, we launched our Pet Therapy Program in 1986. We train handlers and animals to be able to visit nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and more to positively affect those in need of their love and support. In turn, the Pet Therapy animals enjoy the attention and affections from those they visit! For more information on how to become a Pet Therapy team or to arrange visits at your facility, please contact your local volunteer manager.

Manhattan
Kate Lombardi
866-262-8133 x7239
katelyn.lombardi@bideawee.org

Long Island
Alicia K. Ryan
866-262-8133 x7331
alicia.ryan@bideawee.org

  • What is Pet Therapy?

    Children and adults in health care and special education facilities visited by our pet therapy pairs enjoy a positive impact on their quality of life. For some, pet therapy visits are their only contact with the outside world. The pairs often become part of the family and eagerly look forward to making their next visit. In turn, the patients and residents delight in the cuddles, love and friendship these visits bring. The opportunity to receive the unconditional love and acceptance of the animals provides medical and emotional benefits such as lower blood pressure, stress relief, decreased feelings of loneliness and depression, and increased responsiveness. Pet therapy teams also visit schools and libraries to help students with learning and reading difficulties in our Reading to Dogs Program.

  • Prerequisites to Become a Pet Therapy Team

    In the process of helping many people in need of our support, we want to make sure our Pet Therapy animals enjoy the experience just as much! If you believe your dog, cat or rabbit would love to visit all different populations of people, our program could be a great match for you! All animals must be at least one year of age, have been owned by their handler for at least six months, be neutered/spayed, and know their basic commands (SIT, DOWN, STAY and COME). All interested teams will come to a Pre-Screening Meeting before enrolling in class to determine eligibility.

    The volunteer handler must be engaging, social, non-judgmental, and empathetic. Depending on the population, the volunteer may see members of the elderly, handicapped, developmentally challenged and children who are very ill.

  • Becoming a Bideawee Pet Therapy Volunteer Team

    After passing your Pre-Screening Meeting (a background check is also required), you will proceed to take Bideawee’s Pet Therapy Training Class, which consists of five 1-hour classes once a week. During class, we work with teams to expose them to any situation they would face in a real-life therapy visit, and train them to handle those situations appropriately. At the end of the course is an evaluation, and if you and your animal pass, you will register with Pet Partners, a nationally recognized animal assisted therapy organization, which includes receiving up to 2 million dollars in liability insurance. Upon acceptance, Bideawee will work with you to find the best suitable placement for you to volunteer.

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