Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows of the unconditional love and acceptance pets bring. The Pet Therapy Program at the Humane Society of Greater Miami brings the unique and healing human/animal bond to residents and patients of healthcare facilities, rehabilitation centers, children’s hospitals and senior citizen homes across Miami. It is well documented that interaction with animals can significantly improve humans’ physical and emotional health. Put as simply as possible, pets make people feel good! Regular visits by volunteers and their dogs or cats create strong, powerful relationships with people who need it most. Certified animals shower residents and patients with unconditional love, creating happy, exciting interactions between pets and people and are instrumental in the healing process. Many look forward to seeing the volunteers and their four-legged companions and they talk about them for days before and after the visits. Pet assisted therapy programs have been shown to lower blood pressure, decrease both stress and anxiety levels and promote social interaction. The Humane Society of Greater Miami’s Pet Therapy volunteers have been visiting different facilities in Greater Miami since the late 1980’s. The success of this program is attributed to dedicated volunteers who donate their time to visit with the residents of care facilities, hoping to bring a smile to someone’s face with the help of something that we all cherish – the companionship of animals.
How do I become a Pet Therapy volunteer?
To qualify for the program you must first be a Humane Society of Greater Miami volunteer. Orientations are held the first Saturday of every month at the Soffer and Fine Adoption Center, 16101 West Dixie Highwy, North Miami Beach (305-696-0800). You must also be willing to use your own pet or a friend’s or family member’s pet with which you feel comfortable handling. Your dog is required to have a Canine Good Citizen certificate. You can take the class at most Petco and Petsmart stores or through a trainer. Feel free to call for some guidance. Once your dog has passed the test and obtained the Canine Good Citizen certificate, we will try to match you with a facility based on your location and availability.
We are offering online orientation sessions as the volunteer program reopens. Once orientation sessions are available, you will find them in our web calendar with details on how you can attend virtually.
Meet some of our wonderful Pet Therapy dogs and their people!
We are very grateful to all of our generous and committed volunteers who offer their time and share with the world the joy of being around their wonderful dogs. The effect a therapy pet has on those in need is priceless. Meet some of our shining stars:
We are currently looking to bring new volunteers and their pets into the program. For more information, please call 305-749-1820.