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Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients

Samaritan Hospice’s pet therapy program involves trained volunteers who visit patients and families with specially-certified dogs.

What is Hospice Pet Therapy?Front view of Border Collie puppy, sitting and panting.

Pet therapy in a hospice setting provides comfort, support, and companionship through the use of an animal. Samaritan offers pet therapy through already-certified dogs. Seeing and touching a furry friend brings peace and joy to patients and is a welcome distraction from serious illness and end of life.

Hospice therapy dogs have stable temperaments and friendly, easy-going personalities.  Encounters with these special dogs encourage conversation and emotional connection between patients and their families.


Benefits of Pet Therapy for Hospice Patients

Visiting with these gentle animals helps

  • people feel less lonely
  • provides entertainment and a welcome distraction from the pains and burdens of coping with illness
  • encourages people to communicate their feelings, laugh and interact with others

The act of petting a dog can

  • relax people.
  • sometimes reduce blood pressure.
  • encourage use of hand, arms and movement.
  • help reduce physical pain.
  • lower blood pressure.
  • Promote an improved heart rate and general cardiovascular health.
  • Increase overall comfort level.

Patients in facilities who may have had to give up cherished pets find joy in reliving memories. In addition, patients and families often report more responsiveness to care and an improved feeling of connection to life through the use of this comforting therapy.

Read more about the benefits of hospice pet therapy >>

Support Hospice Pet Therapy

Though not required or covered by Medicare, Medicaid and many private insurers, the services of Samaritan Hospice’s pet therapy dogs are made possible through volunteers and donations to Samaritan.

Donate Now >>

Pet Therapy Volunteers

Samaritan is always seeking volunteers with an already-certified dog to visit our patients and families. Click here to volunteer now.

Please check with your hospice team to find out if you or your loved one is eligible for pet therapy. Pet therapy is offered in select locations.