Our pet therapists are certified and trained to do pet therapy. Patients, guests and team members look forward to the days when pet therapists are on campus. Come and join our team of loving, caring and “furry” professionals!


Handlers are the most important part of the Pet Therapy team. The handler must possess the skills and knowledge required to visit guests in various types of facilities and in very different scenarios. It is critical that handlers are people oriented, enjoy listening, showing compassion and allowing the patients to come first. The handler must also have good control of their pet and communicate clearly with their animal at all times.

Handlers must demonstrate:
  • Reliability and commitment
  • A natural feel when interacting with people and animals
  • Control of their animals at all times
  • Confidence in the person they interact with and gain their trust
  • Acceptance of those who are not interested in pet services


Animals should have at least a basic level of training so that they are reliable and under control, even in crowded situations and when there are loud noises. They should convey the image that they are well- behaved and have good manners. It is important that animals that participate in animal-assisted activities / therapy have an interest in people and enjoy visiting.

Animals must be:
  • Reliable
  • Controllable
  • Predictable
In evaluating potential therapy teams, both skills and aptitude are assessed for therapy work. This ensures that the animal has the necessary skills needed to complete the work at hand. Teams may visit with patients in their hospital rooms, assist dogs at the bedside and allow the patient to pet them. Therefore, the utmost sensitivity and patience is necessary. Pet therapists complete a thorough tour and onsite evaluation to ensure that the dog feels comfortable with our patients and staff. The success of our Pet Therapy teams depends upon the teamwork a handler has with their animal.

Becoming a Pet Therapy Volunteer

These are the steps necessary to certify your animal for pet therapy:
  1. Obtain your registration through one of our approved Pet Therapy associations:
  2. Complete the volunteer application online at: (FULL ONLINE FORM OUT IN FULL)
    Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children
    Dr. P. Phillips Hospital
    Lucerne Pavillion
    MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando
    South Seminole Hospital
  3. Complete the Orlando Health Canine Companion Health Certificate signed by your veterinarian (please bring original to interview)
  4. Once the application is processed you will be contacted for your volunteer interview
  5. Provide copies of pet therapy registration and current vaccination records (please bring these to the interview)
  6. Schedule an appointment for your TST and drug tests
  7. Attend Volunteer Orientation at the site you will be volunteering
  8. Start Volunteering!

Pet Therapy Contacts

Pet Therapy Services are available at the following Orlando Health facilities. For more information, contact one of the Volunteer Services Departments below:
  • MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando - 321.841.1967
  • Orlando Regional Medical Center - 321.843.2193
  • Dr. P. Phillips Hospital - 321.842.7416
  • Lucerne Pavilion - 321.841.1694
  • South Seminole Hospital - 321.842.6215
  • Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children - 321.841.5932

Meet Our Team

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 http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_cari.png  http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_gunner.png http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_jasper.png
 http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_maddie.png  http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_mia.png
 http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_molly.png http://orlandohealth.com/mediabank/images/orlando_health_pet_therapy_volunteers_thor.png