Healing with the Comfort & Motivation of Loving Animals

For some patients at Mercy Medical Center, their physicians may call in a rather unusual but effective healthcare specialist: a dog from Mercy Pet Patrol.

Benefits to patient pet visits may include:

  • Improves the mood/lifts spirits of hospitalized patients by promoting a calming effect, which creates motivation in patients to recover faster and enhance a patient’s will to live.
  • Decreases depression, loneliness and social isolation by offering a sense of emotional connection, that also encourages patient communication and participation in treatment.
  • Reduces stress levels & soothes patient anxiety.
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.
  • Lessens the overall physical pain or need for pain medications in patients who suffer from chronic pain.
  • …and much more!

About Mercy Pet Patrol

With approximately 12 specially trained teams, Pet Patrol’s main goal is to help people heal through the comfort and motivation of these loving animals. All the handlers are volunteers and the animals are their own loving pets.

Currently, Mercy Pet Patrol animals are dogs. Teams regularly make visits to the main hospital lobby, emergency department, regional rehabilitation center and cancer center. The teams also participate in various locations at Mercy sponsored events. Pet Patrol teams are registered with Pet Partners (formerly the Delta Society) and are strictly behaviorally and medically tested by their evaluators. Pet Patrol is a volunteer organization supported by Mercy Volunteer Services.

Join the Mercy Pet Patrol Team

To participate in the Mercy Pet Patrol program, you and your dog must meet the following requirements:

  1. The dog must be at least a year old with a predictable, friendly temperament.
  2. You must complete the Mercy volunteer application process.
  3. You must complete the Pet Partners online therapy animal handler course, pass a behavioral evaluation by a licensed Pet Partners evaluator, and register with Pet Partners. Evaluations are available at Mercy in March/April and September/October.
  4. After you have been accepted into Mercy’s Pet Patrol Program, you must provide pet vet records and stool/throat cultures. You will also complete a Mercy Pet Patrol Competency and Pet Mentoring visits.