Pet Therapy: Hospitals Allow Patients’ Own Dogs to Visit

Life With Dogs is reader-supported. We may earn a small commission through products purchased using links on this page.

In an attempt to help patients heal more quickly, a growing number of hospitals have taken their pet therapy programs even farther, and are now allowing patients to have visits from their own pets.

According to ABC News,

The program started at Texas Children’s four years ago, when administrators were approached by an organization called PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support) Houston, a non-profit organization the helps to sustain the relationships between pet owners and their pets during a prolonged hospitalization.

Here’s how it works: a social worker or child life specialist, hearing that a patient has a pet at home, speaks to doctors who can approve a visit. Then PAWS is contacted. They ensure that the pet is vaccinated and has a bath before the visit. A PAWS volunteer will meet the pet and family members at the entrance of the hospital where they perform a “behavior check” to make sure the pet’s temperament is good for a hospital environment. They then take the pet to the patient’s room.

Patients are applauding this new trend in treatment, and if prior studies are any indication, healing time and overall costs associated with care are likely to drop for those lucky enough to recover in the company of a pet.
ABC recently visited Texas Children’s Hospital to speak with Tabitha Fleaks, a participant in the program, and a true believer in the healing power of pets.

0 thoughts on “Pet Therapy: Hospitals Allow Patients’ Own Dogs to Visit”

  1. My mom has had to be is a rehab facility several times now and I always either take my dog or hers and it puts the biggest smile on her face! This is a wonderful thing.

  2. Spent 3mts in hosp once, was more excited to c my girls once hme than my own kids nearly. Did improve to hurry hme but wud hav been betta to hav seen them tho. All for it, spesh for the elderly and kids. Dogz rule! <3

  3. Used to take one of our dogs to visit my grandmother in a nursing facility after she fell. It took me 1/2 to make it down the hall to her room. The patients’ faces lit up with joy when we would stop to see them. It was sad and uplifting all at the same time.


Leave a Comment