Dogs and owners with love to share are needed for growing program at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 1, 2010
Pawsitive Pals pet therapy program now recruiting new volunteer teams
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." -- Gilda Radner
(San Diego) – They are purebreds and rescued mutts, in all shapes and sizes. The one thing they have in common is the joy and love they bring to the patients and families at San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine.
If you have a special canine friend, you and your pet can make a tremendous different in the lives of others with serious, life-limiting illness by sharing the comfort and companionship that only a loving animal can provide. The “Pawsitive  Pals ” pet therapy program is now recruiting new volunteer teams to serve a growing amount of requests for its program. The amount of home care requests has tripled from last year.
San Diego Hospice pet therapy volunteers visit patients in their homes, in skilled nursing facilities, and in our inpatient units – wherever they are needed throughout San Diego County.
Pet therapy dogs must have current therapy certification and insurance, which is included with certification through one of several approved agencies. The pet’s handler should be in good physical health, emotionally mature, stable, non-judgmental, and have a sincere desire to help, and complete orientation and a two-day patient care volunteer training course. Pawsitive Pals volunteers are asked to commit two to three hours per week for a six month period of service.
Visits from Tucker, a Goldendoodle, have made all the difference to four year old Venezia and her parents. Venezia’s father says, “You actually feel the joy when they’re together. I mean, I can feel her heartbeat. These memories, you’re going to remember them for the rest of your life. With Venezia, you know, being in San Diego Hospice, it means a lot for us to spend quality time.” Venezia’s mom said they learned about pet therapy from San Diego Hospice. “If anyone else can have a visit from a therapy dog like Tucker, that family will be blessed.”
Lauren, a Pawsitive Pals volunteer, talks about her experience with her dog Duffy, “Working with Duffy as a therapy dog has allowed me to know him as a totally different dog than he is at home. He truly has an affinity for people who are ill. There’s a totally different side to Duffy when he is with his patients…and these ARE his patients. Duffy is very caring and knows exactly what do.”
If you’d like to learn more about becoming a Pawsitive Pals volunteer, contact Volunteer Resources  at 619-278-6451 or email email@example.com You can view an inspirational video about the Pawsitive Pals program at www.sdhopice.org/volunteer 
About San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine
San Diego Hospice and The Institute for Palliative Medicine (www.sdhospice.org ), the leader in the relief of suffering, is one of the 10 largest community-owned, not-for-profit hospices in the country, with one of the largest resources in the world for training palliative medicine physicians and other specialists. The organization brings compassionate, expert medical care to more than 1,000 seriously ill adults and children each day throughout San Diego and North County. More information is available online at www.sdhospice.org  or call toll-free at 1-866-688-1600.