Pet Therapy Program
Providing pediatric and adult patients with a fun and healthy diversion
Erlanger's Pet Therapy Program is designed to bring a smile to our patients and families, and to make their hospital stays more cheerful. Since 1998 hospital-approved therapy dogs along with their owners have visited the children on inpatient floors of Children's Hospital as well as some of the outpatient clinics. And in 2014, our "K-9 ambassadors" also began visiting adult patients at Erlanger Baroness Hospital, including special visits to the ICU, ER, and infusion centers. These beloved animals can be a great anxiety-reliever during difficult hospital stays. Nothing is more moving than to see a sick patient light up when one of their furry friends rounds the corner. Dogs and their owners are invaluable members of our care team; increasing laughter and bringing joy to all our patients.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
- Provides patients and loved ones with a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine
- Offers a fun opportunity for social interaction
- Improves the patient’s mood
- Often increases the patient’s level of activity and alertness which is key to the recovery process
Erlanger Health System partners with the Human Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT), a program of The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, who sponsors animal-assisted therapy programs for all ages. In addition to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, our Pet Therapy Program is also offered at Erlanger Baroness Hospital and Erlanger East Hospital.
Interested in Taking Part in Erlanger’s Pet Therapy Program?
All owners interested in Erlanger’s Pet Therapy Program are required to attend a HABIT Information Meeting in order to apply for the program and for their dog to receive a behavior evaluation. Attendance is a required step in the application process.
- Be at least one year of age
- Have completed a six-month adjustment period in their new home
- Have basic obedience skills (sits, walks well on a leash, no inside barking, gets along with other dogs)
- Love people
- Have up-to-date shot records
- Be well-groomed
After attending the informational session, owners will need to complete the application and send it in along with a $25 yearly fee and the dog will go through a screening process. After the dog passes this stage, they will become an official Erlanger K-9 Ambassador and can schedule visits at Erlanger Baroness Hospital, Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, and Erlanger East Hospital.
To register to attend a HABIT Informational Meeting, contact Ruth Sapp at 865-974-5633 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.