Banner Desert Medical Center has more than 24 pet therapy dogs, adding to the more than 100 dogs involved in the Banner Health systemwide program.
Banner Desert's Pet Therapy program is the first hospital-based pet therapy program in Arizona, and has been in existance since 1990.
Can my dog become a therapy dog?
Therapy dogs have wonderful temperaments, are obedient, have the ability to learn and are well groomed. They also must readily accept strangers, sit still amidst distractions and not react adversely to other dogs.
All dogs must undergo six-to-12 months of extensive training.
While the dogs obviously give the program its star power, a corps of volunteers either serve as the pets' "managers" or coordinate their schedules. They, too, are an important part of the success story.
Support the program
For information on making tax-deductible donations to Banner Desert programs, including pet therapy, contact the Banner Health Foundation of Arizona at (602) 747-4483.