Can I visit nursing homes with my dog?

Go Back   Dog Forum > Dog Shows and Performance > Working Dogs

Can I visit nursing homes with my dog?

This is a discussion on Can I visit nursing homes with my dog? within the Working Dogs forums, part of the Dog Shows and Performance category; I've heard from a lot of people that you can take your dog for the seniors to see, and I would really love to do ...

User Tag List

Like Tree4Likes
  • 2 Post By busannie
  • 1 Post By busannie
  • 1 Post By Grabby

 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 01-07-2016, 06:53 PM
  #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 47
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Can I visit nursing homes with my dog?

I've heard from a lot of people that you can take your dog for the seniors to see, and I would really love to do this but I know I have to have some license for him or something. He has a canine good citizen, is that enough? He is really polite and gentle, very quiet.

Does anyone know how to go about this? I've googled it and I cant get any clear answers... I assuming it depends on the nursing home?
Woofle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2016, 09:30 PM
  #2
Senior Member
 
annageckos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 913
Mentioned: 33 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Call the nursing home and ask.

I remember when I was very young my Great Grandmother was in a nursing home and we were allowed to bring our cat in to visit her. Then years ago when my BF worked at a nursing home I would bring our puppy in to visit. We had asked first.
annageckos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2016, 09:57 PM
  #3
Senior Member
 
Artdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 572
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by annageckos View Post
Call the nursing home and ask.

I remember when I was very young my Great Grandmother was in a nursing home and we were allowed to bring our cat in to visit her. Then years ago when my BF worked at a nursing home I would bring our puppy in to visit. We had asked first.
Yes, this. Local rules probably differ.
I started visiting with Dynamo as a family pet; my in-laws were in the nursing home. Here we have "pets allowed" and "no pets" homes. Pets allowed means visitors can bring family pets, and they often have a pet for the home. The home I visit had a cat that got her own memorial service when she passed. They have birds and goldflsh.
When my in-laws passed away, Dynamo was already a regular and welcome visitor, so we may have bypassed some rules as we continued visiting friends as volunteers.
Dynamo was not a certified therapy dog. We did have to supply proof of vaccinations.
Visiting institutions can be stressful and confusing for a dog, people have cognitive disfunction, may stare, may yell, may pet too roughly, there are scary smells and noises and small crowded spaces. Tails and feet may get run over by wheelchairs.
But, if you have a dog that can handle all that, the residents will love you.
I'm still not sure what rules will apply with our next dog as we are now officially "volunteers".
Dogs need to be very reliable and stable, calm & confident. Dynamo was a mature lady by the time we brought her, and she still had butterflies the first few times (had to run her out doors to barf).
Artdog is offline   Reply With Quote
 
Old 01-08-2016, 01:55 AM
  #4
Senior Member
 
busannie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: MD
Posts: 269
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Some individual nursing homes do allow visits by pets, usually those owned by family members of residents or residents' pets being cared for by others. They usually require at least proof of vaccines, maybe a health certificate, and some require a vet sign a form indicating the dog appears to be non-aggressive.

I would highly recommend joining an established therapy dog organization, as they are invaluable in making sure you are protected while visiting places/people as well as in making connections to do so. Keep in mind that if your dog were to even accidentally scratch someone lightly, older people are easily bruised, and you could potentially be liable for any medical care needed. Most therapy dog orgs do provide liability insurance that will protect you in the event that something were to happen, and even the nicest dogs sometimes do weird things or have clumsy moments, or sometimes people put themselves in danger through no fault of the dog (if, say someone were to trip over him/her).

The group I volunteer with also maintains a database of facilities which desire visits, and their requirements, so volunteers can contact them and arrange visits without as much legwork. It saves a lot of phone calls and time to know that facilities x, y, and z already have 5 teams visiting and don't need any more, while facility q has none currently visiting and people there are missing out!

They sometimes coordinate group responses to crisis situations where the dogs will be of benefit... as an example, the organization I'm in coordinated a trip from MD to CT when the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings took place, as well as other organizations (each independently) from all over, so there were a large number of therapy dog teams in area schools, as well as other public places trying to help comfort people, I think particularly because of the number of children involved. I couldn't get off work to go, but I think my org had nearly a full bus of people and dogs.

It really is rewarding "work", and I can't recommend it enough if you have a dog that is suitable. My two therapy dogs have made more friends than I ever would have, and luckily for me, they've shared a few of them
Grabby and Sha like this.
busannie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2016, 06:56 AM
  #5
Senior Member
 
Artdog's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Posts: 572
Mentioned: 43 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
@busannie would love to hear more about the certification organization and training. I probably will get my next dog in on "pet" status, but my situation is unique. Ie, officially volunteer but in reality we (my husband and I) are friends with a lady who lives there. It's a very informal arrangement with people who know us.
Artdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2016, 07:05 PM
  #6
Senior Member
 
busannie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2016
Location: MD
Posts: 269
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
There are lots of therapy dog organizations, a few national (or greater), and many more local to their state or region. I would just google "dog therapy' or "pet therapy" and your area- try city, state/province, and country. Bet you'll find a bunch, then just read over their websites to see how they align with what you want. Some might even be attending dog events in your area, in which case, you can meet some people and dogs and see what you think.

The one I volunteer with is local to my area, which is nice because there's a concentrated membership close to me, and lots of awareness/community events, etc. I didn't have a facility in mind when I started, so picked the one closest to me on the list that didn't already have a volunteer team (They were so excited!). Volunteers don't just visit nursing homes/hospitals, they also visit schools and libraries to encourage children to read, visit universities during finals week to "de-stress" students, attend community events to recruit new members/facilities, and sometimes even make special visits to individuals who have requested a visit but are unable to get to someplace a visit is already taking place.

Different groups have different requirements/screening processes, etc. The one I volunteer with requires that rabies and distemper be kept current, but will accept a titer for distemper (not rabies). The dog must have a negative fecal and exam declaring it free of contagious skin dz once a year. Some groups won't allow raw fed dogs due to potential bacterial contamination risks (no idea of the validity or not of that rule). No current "testing" is required of people by the org itself, but some facilities require background checks, TB tests, and other stuff that I'd guess they require from any volunteer within their facility.

The temperament test they do doesn't require much formal obedience, but they look for general good manners (walking on loose leash, waiting patiently, not jumping on people), and do manhandle the dog a little bit to verify its tolerance level. They require it be repeated every 3 years, as dogs' temperaments of course can change. I actually have to have Bus re-tested this spring, but when we went the last time, they banged a cane around him, rattled a walker by/bumped it into him, petted him a bit roughly, pulled his ears and tail, picked up his feet, and picked him up like you'd expect a non-dog savvy child to, abruptly, with two hands held out far. He's long suffering, and looked at me like, "you see the things I put up with?" afterwards, but wouldn't dream of biting over any of it, and he does enjoy meeting people/getting attention. My previous TD lived for being around people, and loved to be manhandled (any attention was good attention), so the testing and visits were right up her alley

They currently "require" that dogs be "dog friendly", but when that was made a rule I pointed out to the director that I would never describe my TD at the time- we'd already been members for several years at that point- as "dog friendly" (she was quite dog aggressive and had to be kept separate even from our other dogs at home, but wasn't at all reactive), she told me that as long as she wasn't obviously dog aggressive, we were good- I continued to visit with her for a while after that, without issue, though I had always exercised judgement to avoid events that would get her in trouble (no crowded venues, dog swim parties or off leash picnics, lol). I know of other individuals who've had therapy dogs whom I'd not classify as "dog friendly", through various orgs, so it probably boils down to each org's rules.

I have had people try to do some crazy stuff to the dogs, but no more so than I have just having the dogs out in public a lot. The meanest things which I've had to prevent happened outside of our therapy dog visits (mostly kids trying to kick while parents look on dumbly). Most of the weird stuff during our visits is pretty harmless, people grabbing the dog's tail to get his attention, or one lady showed me how when she shuffled her feet "like this", her brothers dachshund always bit her feet, then shuffled vigorously right at/into Bus I thought to myself, "I can see why it does...." lol. Poor Bus just scooted out of the way as she approached, looked at her curiously, then looked at me like "???". He gets lots of praise for his tolerance
Artdog likes this.
busannie is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2016, 11:41 AM
  #7
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 214
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
I'd call the nursing home and ask what the policy is.
Butterfly88 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-15-2016, 12:29 PM
  #8
Senior Member
 
Grabby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: San Antonio, TX
Posts: 4,437
Mentioned: 250 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
You should consider your liability. Even if you have permission from a facility, if something were to happen, you could be sued. Dogs are dogs. Even the nicest, calmest dog can panic if someone trips and falls on them or something else unexpected and scary happens. One of the many benefits of being a member of an organization is they carry insurance.

If you decide to do this be sure you watch your dog for signs of stress. Keep the visits fairly short until you see how your dog reacts.
Shandula likes this.
Grabby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-17-2016, 06:10 PM
  #9
Senior Member
 
Arwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: West Mids, UK
Posts: 286
Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
i do think the dog has to be assessed, and registered as a therapy dog? you would probably need something like public liability insurance, just in case something goes wrong...i guess if you register with an organisation, you will be insured through them.
Arwen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My puppy is so rude (jumping) when guests visit! Altra Dog Training and Behavior 3 12-11-2015 01:47 PM
short vet visit Sonkos Dog Health 3 11-18-2015 01:37 AM
My dog hasn't been the same since vet visit kaadog626 Dog Health 10 10-24-2015 03:05 AM


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:45 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.0 PL2
vBulletin Security provided by vBSecurity v2.2.2 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.1.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd. Runs best on HiVelocity Hosting.