Sometimes, the best medicine is a smile. Our therapy dogs provide patients and their families with comfort, hope and healing.
With 22 teams of volunteer handlers and dogs, patients can request a visit from one of their favorite four-legged friends throughout most areas of the hospital, including Oncology and Speediatrics. For health and safety reasons, volunteer handlers and dogs are not permitted to visit patients in surgery.
Our highly-trained team of therapy dogs have received extensive behavioral training and are well-suited for daily interaction with people. Each dog goes through a selection process prior to being accepted. They must possess all of the necessary qualities of a well-rounded therapy dog, including bedside manners, a stable temperament and friendly personality.
After being accepted into the program, each therapy dog is given an official Halifax Health – Auxiliary vest and name tag, signifying that they have been thoroughly vetted for behavior, infection control, hospital policy and identification.
When the therapy dogs and their handlers are on-duty, they are encouraged to socialize and interact with people outside the patient rooms, including staff and visitors. Doing so helps the dogs become more acquainted with their surroundings and feel comfortable in a variety of settings.
If you see one of our therapy dogs during a visit to Halifax Health, they would love to meet you so please feel free to stop them and say hello. Spending time with people is what they do best.
With your continued support and encouragement, the Halifax Health – Auxiliary therapy dog program will continue to thrive for future generations.