FHN Pet Therapy Program LogoFHN Beyond Words Pet Therapy Program


Arrange a Pet Therapy Visit

Become Part of the Program

 »National Program Certification

 »FHN Volunteer Designation

 »Reimbursement of Expenses

 »How Visits Are Arranged

 »Handler/Dog Team Quick Checklist


If you have any questions about the training program, the behavioral exam, or national program certification, please contact Jan Carlson of Carlson Canine Camp at 815-235-1500 or Itrain538@aol.com.

For questions about the FHN Beyond Words Pet Therapy Program or to request a volunteer application packet, contact Kay Brooks, Director of FHN Volunteer Resources, at 815-599-6148 or kbrooks@fhn.org.

Thank you for your interest in volunteering to provide this valuable, compassionate service. We hope to meet you and your dog soon!

How Visits Are Arranged

Visits are arranged through FHN Volunteer Resources based on demand and opportunity. In addition to patient visits, we have many "ambassador opportunities" available, from parades to public events hosted by FHN. These are just as important to FHN (and count as patient visits), and we hope you will take advantage of and enjoy them!

All visits are arranged through FHN Volunteer Resources, and the program coordinator (Kay Brooks, Director of Volunteer Resources) should always know when you and your dog will be on the premises.

Types of Visits

Many handler and dog teams in the FHN Beyond Words Pet Therapy Program are expected to commit to a regular schedule since departments that want dogs to visit may have a specific purpose in mind that requires a specific frequency.

If you and your dog are not part of department that require a specific schedule or if you find that you are able to make additional visits outside your scheduled times, contact the FHN Volunteer Resources at 815-599-6148 to see if there's an unfilled request for a visit; there will be areas where therapy dog teams are always welcome.

If you are able to be an on-call volunteer (which you’ll specify on your FHN Beyond Words Pet Therapy Application), we'll call you when we have identified a specific need for you and your dog.

Preparing for Your Visit

Prepare your dog for a visit by following the Visiting Guidelines sent with your acceptance letter, or download a copy here.

Please keep in mind that just as with human volunteers, dogs need time to refresh and relax between visits. A dog that is stressed can't help others relax. Unless there are special events that necessitate exceptions, dogs should not visit more than once a week.

For most dogs, it is good to plan for and stick to some level of ongoing visiting activity on a regular basis so that they retain their familiarity with FHN surroundings and requirements – and look forward to visiting.