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Palomar Paws Pet Therapy

Healing and comfort don’t always come with a medical degree. Sometimes the tranquility and quiet joy a dog visit brings to a patient is the best prescription. 

Palomar Paws, formerly known as Rx Pets, is a volunteer program designed to bring a little more TLC into the hospital setting as patients look forward to the four-footed visitors with as much anticipation as the two-footed kinds.

There are currently 30 dogs volunteering with Palomar Paws Program. Cathy Mayer, a professional dog trainer and volunteer coordinator for the program, hopes to have 60 dogs enrolled in the hospital visitation program.

When patients are admitted into the hospital, they are asked as part of the registration process, if they would like to have dog visitations.
 
Palomar Paws doesn’t just help the patients, but it also assists dog owners who want their own pet to be a therapy dog. 
 
Mayer takes potential therapy dogs through a controlled evaluation at the hospital and if the dog passes the test, she helps the dog get certified with one of two national groups – Therapy Dogs International or Love on a Leash.
 
Volunteer Carol Orlando knows first-hand the joy and comfort her dog Button brings to patients. “The difference the dog makes is like night and day. We walk in and (the patient) isn’t smiling or is looking sad. But as soon as they see Button, they’d light up. Pretty soon they’re telling me their own pet experience,” Carol says. “It’s so rewarding. And from the look on Button’s face, she loves it, too.” 
 
To read about a patient's experience with pet therapy, click here.