OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center is recruiting social, well-mannered, predictable dogs for its Animal Assisted Therapy program.
AAT uses highly trained animals and handlers to help patients achieve specific physical, social, cognitive and emotional goals. Therapy dogs and their owners visit the hospital and bring comfort to patients, reducing stress, anxiety and blood pressure and increasing patient social interaction and communication.
Temperament testing to determine if canine candidates meet the specific requirements of the program will be held by appointment only from 8-10 a.m., 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center, 5666 E. State St., Rockford, Ill.
There is a $20 fee for testing; the fee is refunded if the dog does not pass. Dogs that pass temperament testing must attend a mandatory training program held Friday through Sunday, May 3-5, through Dog Builders and Paws 4 Therapy. Dogs that successfully complete the program will be registered with a therapy dog organization.
Requirements for therapy dogs:
Must be at least one year old
Demonstrate proficiency in basic obedience
Be up-to-date on inoculations (including rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, par influenza, Bordetella and corona virus)
Must have lived with handlers for a minimum of six months
Must be clean with no signs of fleas, ticks or dermatitis
Have proof of annual heartworm test
Once admitted to the program, dogs need to be on flea protection year-round. Dogs with allergies will not be permitted in the program. Dog handlers must be at least 18 years old, be dependable and prompt and have good communication skills.
For more information or to sign up for temperament testing:
Contact Theresa Geraci, BSN, RN, at 815-227-2500. Applications are available at www.osfsaintanthony.org/about/animal-assisted.html <http://www.osfsaintanthony.org/about/animal-assisted.html>.