Dogs On Call
Cape Cod Hospital’s Dogs On Call program is a goal-oriented program that brings pet therapy services to the bedside for the purpose of creating a healing environment that fosters positive connections and improves patients’ experiences, well-being and recovery.
This program is composed of volunteer teams of therapy dogs working under the direction of their human handlers who have been specially trained in best practices by a registered pet therapy organization. All handlers participating in the Dogs On Call program are official hospital volunteers and must adhere to the policies and procedures of Cape Cod Hospital’s Volunteer Services department.
Today, more than a dozen therapy dog teams are part of the Dogs On Call program, providing comfort and enjoyment to patients, visitors and staff throughout Cape Cod Hospital.
Studies have been shown the invaluable impact the human-animal bond can have on an individual’s health and well-being. In a hospital setting like Cape Cod Hospital, therapy dog visits have shown to have a positive effect on patient pain levels and have increased satisfaction with their hospital stay, improving health and wellness, providing comfort and enjoyment, and lessening worry, anxiety and loneliness.
And, it’s not only patients who experience the benefits! In addition to in-room visits with patients, Dogs On Call therapy teams offer a welcome and much-appreciated distraction for family members, friends and other visitors, as well as providers and staff working throughout the hospital.
All therapy dog visits are arranged by the Dogs On Call Coordinator working directly with patients and their care teams. While every effort will be made to accommodate requests, certain restrictions and/or circumstances may limit visitation. All therapy dog visits require signed patient consent.
Dogs On Call Program Highlights
- Therapy dog teams include one handler and one dog.
- Handlers are the human end of the leash of a therapy dog team, facilitating safe and effective interactions between their dogs and participants with skill and knowledge acquired through a registered pet therapy organization.
- Therapy dogs are evaluated on their ability to safely interact with a wide range of populations and have met specific criteria for hospital visitation. This includes being examined by a doctor of veterinary medicine – for both physical health and behavior.
- Dogs participating in the Dogs On Call program are not service or emotional support animals.
For the safety of our patients and staff
- Visits with a therapy dog team require signed patient consent.
- Patients must remain seated in a chair or lying down in bed for the entire duration of a visit with a therapy dog.
- Patients having a phobia or allergies to animals cannot participate in the Dogs On Call program.
- Dogs On Call visitation and access are not permitted in designated isolation rooms or rooms with posted precaution signs.
All animal visitation and access, including the Dogs On Call therapy teams, are permitted at the discretion of Cape Cod Hospital.
Supporting Dogs On Call
If you would like to learn how you can support this highly visible and valued program with a charitable gift, please call the Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation directly at 508-862-5600.