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WHATProvides free pet visitation and animal assisted activities to long-term care facilities, to interact with the disabled, elderly, chronically ill and mentally ill.
WHYTo provide seniors in nursing homes and those in other facilities with activity, a sense of security, connection and hope.
WHEREPets and Friends Program. Lower Mainland.
British Columbia, Canada.

Program Description

"One of the most important things pet visitation does is help residents to open up socially in their day-to-day lives."

The “Pets and Friends” Program screens and trains dogs, cats and their owners to provide animal assisted activities in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Pet visits in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities can provide an alternative to routine nursing home activities, help elderly relieve stress, increase hope and optimism and provide seniors with companionship.

During a pet therapy visit to a nursing home a therapy dog and their owner interacts and provides senior residents with socialization, physical affection and acceptance.

Some of the benefits provided by pet visitation and dogs in nursing home include:

  • Increased level senior physical fitness and social activities
  • Decreased aggressive or hyperactive behavior
  • Increased ability to deal with feelings of loneliness and isolation
  • Relief of elderly depression and disorientation
  • Improved morale, self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Reduced stress and anxiety

Those looking to learn how to volunteer for pet visits in nursing homes can expect a pet screening, testing and evaluation, an orientation, a paid membership and a one-year commitment.


Therapy Dogs International Nursing Home Program - Across the USA and areas in Canada. Provides free visits of dogs to nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices and other facilities to provide regular animal assisted therapy, an interactive nursing home activity and to give companionship to elderly.

Pet Partners Therapy Animal Program - Program widely available across the United States, Canada, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, and several other countries.
Trains pet owners and pets on how to visit nursing homes, hospice, hospitals, physical therapy centers, long-term care facilities and other facilities to provide animal assisted activities.

Therapy Dogs Inc. Program - Program available across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Territories. Provides registration, support, and insurance for those involved in volunteer animal assisted activities.

Terminally Ill & Their Pets
Pets and Seniors Companionship
Service Dogs for Elderly

Find out more about the "Pets and Friends" Program

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