At this time, we are not accepting applicants into our Pet Therapy Program.
Pet Therapy is a therapeutic intervention that provides comfort and emotional support for patients and is also beneficial to families, visitors and staff. The Medical Center is pleased to be able to provide pet therapy to anyone who needs some extra "Tender Loving Care".
Benefits of Pet Therapy
- Brings smiles
- Provides comfort
- Relieves stress
- Provides mental stimulation
- Lessens depression and anxiety
- Lowers blood pressure, respiratory and heart rates
- Encourages better communication
- Provides physical contact or "touch" that improves overall well being
- Offers positive distraction
- Provide entertainment
Pet Therapy Facts
- Medical Center Pet Therapy policy was implemented in 2005
- Medical Center Pet Therapy dogs can be identified by their Penn State Hershey ID badges
- All Medical Center therapy dogs are registered through one of the following therapy dog organizations: Therapy Dogs Incorporated (TDInc.), Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS), American Red Cross Serving Central PA or Pet Partners
- All teams are volunteers, and all dogs are owned, loved, and trained by that volunteer
- Visits occur in all inpatient adult units, including intensive care units, with the exception of some cardiovascular units and Women's Health
- Visits occur every day of the week in different areas of the hospital and clinics
- Special visits can be arranged by making a request at the nurse's station or by calling the CareLine at 800-243-1455
- Therapy dogs cannot visit patients who are under isolation restrictions
- Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital has a separate pet therapy program
If you are interested in pursuing participation in our Pet Therapy Program, the first step is to have your dog registered with one of the following therapy dog organizations:
- Therapy Dogs Incorporated (TDInc.)
- Keystone Pet Enhanced Therapy Services (KPETS)
- American Red Cross Serving Central PA
- Pet Partners
In addition, prospective teams are required to have a minimum of 20 hours of pet therapy visits in nursing homes or hospitals prior to applying for the our Pet Therapy Program. Documentation may be requested.
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center's Pet Therapy Program is a popular volunteer opportunity and positions are not always available.
Gifts to the Pet Therapy Program
Gifts to our program may be directed to:
Office of University Development
P.O. Box 852, M.C. A120
Hershey, PA 17033-0852
Checks should be made payable to Penn State University with Pet Therapy Fund noted in the memo line. To make a gift via credit card, please call 717-531-8497.