'Paws 4 Hope' Dog Therapy
Banner Good Samaritan's ‘Paws 4 Hope’ Dog Therapy Team makes thousands of patient, visitor and staff visits each year.
We have more than 40 Dog Therapy Teams, volunteers who take time out of their busy lives to come to the hospital.
Each dog has his/her own baseball card to give to the people they visit. Visits may be requested by talking to a nurse, requesting it on their Skylight TV in their room or by calling the Volunteer Resources Office at (602) 839-4380.
Dog Therapy Teams can only be in the hospital for about two hours so not all requests can be accommodated. Teams will not wake a sleeping patient nor can they always return if the patient is out of the room for testing, etc. They do their best to see as many patients as possible.
In addition to regular visits, the dogs do three or four special holiday ‘parades’ each year where they arrive in costume or dress up as nurses for Nurse’s Day. Dogs visit patients in areas that matches the dog's temperament (a quiet dog will visit more acutely ill patients while a more active dog will visit waiting rooms).
Behavioral Health and Rehabilitation use the the Animal Assisted Therapy Program to help deliver treatment. Animal Assisted Therapy occurs in the Rehab building.
For example, a patient who has been resistant to standing for any length of time will have to stand at a table to pet the dog providing both motivation as well as distraction. A patient who may have limited range of motion in their shoulders or arms may be instructed to reach across their body to pet the dog from the top of its head all the way to the tail providing the necessary exercise in a very pleasant and distracting manner.
Those who would like to have their dog evaluated to possibly become a therapy dog should should contact Banner Good Samaritan's Volunteer Resources Office to begin the preliminary screening process: (602) 839-4380.
We do have tester/observers for Therapy Dogs, Inc. who will do the necessary testing and complete the paperwork for registering a dog. Not all dogs are suited to become therapy dogs and the dogs should have basic obedience prior to inquiring about the process which takes several visits to the hospital to complete. Once the dog is approved, the handler must go through the process of becoming a Banner Good Samaritan volunteer.