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WHAT Regular pet visitation by trained volunteers and their approved pets to nursing homes and assisted living.
WHYTo stimulate senior residents who have been unresponsive. To relieve boredom for senior residents who are unable to leave their beds or rooms to participate in other nursing home activities.
WHEREPets on Wheels.
Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Program Description

"We all joined the Fairfax Pets On Wheels program for the same reason, a commitment to brighten the day of our senior citizens, making them feel less lonely by giving and being compassionate, and to provide them with the companionship of a well-behaved pet."

Pet therapy can be provided by dogs, cats, rabbits and other approved animals and provides an engaging nursing home activity for seniors.

Volunteers and nursing home staff find that even the most depressed and withdrawn senior residents eventually respond to an animal’s presence and attention. In many cases senior resident react to animals with more awareness than to people.

Seniors who owned a pet at one time have an opportunity to bring back memories and the fond feelings associated with that time.

Volunteers who believe that their pet’s personality is suitable to provide seniors with pet visitation are invited to an orientation, and eventually have their pet's temperament tested and apply for the animal assisted therapy program.

The “Canine Behavior Assessment” is conducted by the “Pets on Wheels” Program to determine how the dog and handler will react to and cope within the environment of a nursing home. The dog is evaluated on how he or she interacts with other pets. The handler is assessed on his or her awareness and control of the dog.  The overall comfort level within the nursing home is noted. Once accepted, both pet and owner are trained for the “Pets on Wheels” Program and owners and dogs can begin visiting nursing homes.

Pets are checked periodically for up to date vaccinations. The “Pets on Wheels” Program provides more than 8,000 hours of pet visitation to seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities annually.

The goal of the “Pets on Wheels” Program is to provide animal assisted therapy, companionship and a better quality of life for seniors in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.








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