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!
With approximately 20 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 visit the lobby areas at Mercy Health Centers in North Canton, Carroll County and Jackson/Massillon. Medical patients in all other areas of the hospital can receive a visit with a physician’s order.
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’s recreation therapy staff and 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:
- The dog must be at least a year old with a predictable, friendly temperment.
- You must complete the Mercy volunteer application process.
- 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.