Seton Medical Center Hays Volunteer Services Heidi Pet Therapy Volunteer Program

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The Heidi Pet Therapy Program at Seton Medical Center Hays brings smiles and comfort to countless patients during their stay in our hospital. We are happy you are interested in this wonderful pet visitation program!

How do I know if my dog and I are prepared to visit SMCH?

There are several steps in becoming a Heidi Pet Therapy Volunteer. After you have completed the following, we promise you a rewarding experience.

1) Before making application as a volunteer, contact the Seton Volunteer Coordinator at (512) 504-5072. The office will put you in touch with the Pet Therapy Team Coordinator for our program who will give you advice on training and our specific requirements.

2) Complete the Pet Partner's evaluation with a Complex rating. Visit a Registered Team) for specific team registration requirements. You must complete the Pet Partner's workshop or online study prior to being able to take this in person Skills and Aptitude test. Please note that it is important that you and your dog are trained and ready for this evaluation.

To be a Heidi Pet Therapy Team member, you must complete your Pet Partner's evaluation on a regular buckle or snap collar or a harness with leash- no retractable leads. Dogs will not visit on Gentle Leaders, a Halti or any other type of head training halter.

3) Complete SMCH Volunteer Services Orientation.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer.

4) Complete the Heidi Pet Therapy Program Orientation.

Once you are registered as a Complex team by Pet Partner's and a SMCH Volunteer, we would like to help you and your dog become comfortable in our hospital. This specific Pet Therapy Orientation was created to insure safety for the patients and all others as well as making sure that you and your dog can work comfortably around all other Teams.

  • a. A brief off-site evaluation with you and your dog will be required before you can start working in our hospital.
  • b. Complete a visit, without your dog, observing an established team member. The new volunteer will assist the team member making “rounds” to gain valuable hospital experience without the responsibility of managing their own pet.
  • c. Complete several visits with your dog shadowing with an established team member and their dog. The team member will observe and answer any questions you may have about the areas we visit.
  • d. Existing team members will meet new team members outside of the hospital grounds prior to a visit. The purpose is to introduce the new dog in a neutral setting so all can work together around the patients and staff of the hospital.

Membership Requirements

The Heidi Pet Therapy Program volunteers and their dogs currently visit hospital patients during the week and weekends at the volunteer's request. Teams may also be invited to participate in various hospital special events.

Pet Therapy Teams are asked to volunteer a minimum of twice a month. Additional visits are great but not expected.

Members are also expected to participate in scheduled Team meetings once or twice a year.

image Seton is proud to have four hospitals – the only hospitals in Central Texas - that have earned the Magnet designation, the highest award for nursing excellence given by the American Nurses Association.