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Pet Therapy

Furry friends bring smiles.

You and your best friend can become part of our Pet Connections program. Join our menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits and miniature horses!

A great therapy animal is friendly, confident, calm and likes visiting people. Dogs should be controllable on a leash, welcoming to strangers, non-aggressive with other dogs and have basic obedience skills. All pet teams must be evaluated and registered with a national pet therapy organization. We can assist you in navigating the registration process. Teams also are required to complete a comprehensive training program.

Pet therapy teams typically visit with patients from one to two hours per week in many different settings: skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, group homes, patients’ private homes, and inpatient hospice homes.

We have 120 Pet Connections Teams! To find out more, call (602) 636-6336.

Meet some of our therapists
Buddy

My Breed:
An international mix: German Shephard, Australian Shephard and Border Collie.

My Human Partner:
Pat Estok

I’ve been an HOV Volunteer since:
2012

My interests, hobbies and talents:
I was about 5 years old when—from all the people trying to corral me—I chose Pat to take me in from the street. She said I was someone’s buddy and that’s how my name was chosen. I was skinny and limping but a gentle soul who immediately made friends with all the neighbors and their pets. After a few weeks of winning everyone over, my training began as a therapy dog. I was so proud to become officially registered, but then Mom had to be trained—that took a few more months! Everywhere I visit, I enjoy seeing delight on people’s faces. The patients miss their pets so much so I get lots of cuddles and hugs. My favorite time is in the morning when my humans are still in bed. I bring them a ball or my Kong and we play hide and seek, tug of war and other fun games. My other favorite thing is to play with my friends in the courtyard and chase the rabbits. Those guys are fast and sure give me a great workout!

My work at HOV:
When I first started my training, our instructor said, “Every dog needs a job.” I’m happy that Mom chose Hospice of the Valley. When she gets out my “work” bag I tear through the house and then wait patiently for my seat belt to be put on. I know I’m going to visit HOV and other friends at my skilled nursing facility again. I always feel everyone’s love flow through me as they give me hugs, rub my silky coat and massage my ears. We’ve been visiting the facility weekly for more than five years and everyone greets me by name. I feel so special! Even residents who have limited mobility/senses love to have me gently snuggle beside them in their lounge chair or bed. I’m so glad Mom took our instructor seriously and “got me a job,” especially with HOV!

Roger

My Breed:
Domestic Short Hair

My Human Partner:
Tracy Howell

I’ve been an HOV Volunteer since:
2016

My interests, hobbies and talents:
When I am not working for Hospice of the Valley, I enjoy hanging out at home with my cat brothers, watching TV, connecting with other gray and white cats on Instagram, and going around town with my human Mom on her errands. I like to walk on my leash and my big dream is to be able to hunt a bird! So far I have only caught bugs. I would say my biggest talent is making people's day. Many times people say encountering me is the best part of their day and I really love that. Some of my other talents are doing tricks (like "high five") and getting into trouble but acting like I am up to nothing. I also happen to think I’m a dog and am happy to hang out with as many dogs as you’d like.

My work at HOV:
My human Mom and I visit patients all over for Hospice of the Valley. I like going places in the car and meeting new people so this is great for me! The best part is being the center of attention and making people smile. People can get so excited to see a cat since therapy cats are not as common as therapy dogs. We have heard several times that patients who don't talk much in general talk to us. I like to think that the excitement of having me around gives them that extra push and I like that.

Pet Loss
Support Group

Pets are part of our families. Losing their constant companionship and unconditional love can be devastating. Hospice of the Valley hosts a Pet Loss Support Group for those grieving the loss of their beloved companion.

Pet Loss Support