The Pet Therapy Program at Seton Medical Center Austin just recently began with a new program visiting the patients on our Oncology floor. As we expand our program with more dogs, we hope to visit most sections of the hospital. We are happy you are interested in this wonderful pet visitation program. Come join us!
There are several steps in becoming a SMCA Pet Therapy Team Member.
After you have completed the following, we promise you a rewarding experience.
1) Before making application as a Seton Volunteer, contact our Volunteer Coordinator at 512/324-1590. The office will put you in touch with the Pet Therapy Team Coordinator who will give you advice on training and our specific requirements.
2) Our hospital requires you and your dog to be registered with Pet Partner’s (formally the Delta Society) at the Complex level.
Visit http://www.petpartners.org/page.aspx?pid=261 (Volunteering With Your Pet) 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 it is important that you and your dog are trained and ready for this evaluation.
To be a Pet Therapy Team Member, you must complete your Pet Partner’s evaluation on a regular buckle or snap collar or harness and regular leash - no retractable leads. Dogs do not visit on Gentle Leaders, a Halti or any other type of head training halter.
3) Complete the Seton Volunteer Services Orientation.
4) Complete the SMCA Pet Therapy Program Orientation.
Once you are registered as a Complex team by Pet Partner's and a SMCA Volunteer, we would like to help you and your dog become comfortable in our hospital. This Orientation was created to insure safety for patients and all others as well as making sure that you and your dog can work comfortably around all other Teams.
- A brief off-site visit with you and your dog will be required before you start working in our hospital.
- Complete one visit, without your dog, observing an established team member. You will assist the SMCA team member making “rounds” to gain valuable hospital experience without the responsibility of managing their own dog.
- 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 that we currently visit.
- 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 well together around the patients and staff of the hospital.
SMCA Pet Therapy Volunteers and their dogs currently visit hospital patients on Wednesdays from noon to 2:00pm. Teams are also 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.
We may have scheduled Team meetings once or twice a year to update everyone about policy and procedure changes.