Furry friends bring smiles.
You and your best friend can become part of our Pet Connections program. Join our menagerie of dogs, cats, rabbits and miniature horses!
A great therapy animal is friendly, confident, calm and likes visiting people. Dogs should be controllable on a leash, welcoming to strangers, non-aggressive with other dogs and have basic obedience skills. All pet teams must be evaluated and registered with a national pet therapy organization. We can assist you in navigating the registration process. Teams also are required to complete a comprehensive training program.
Pet therapy teams typically visit with patients from one to two hours per week in many different settings: skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, group homes, patients’ private homes, and inpatient hospice homes.
We have 120 Pet Connections Teams! To find out more, call (602) 636-6336.
Rhodesian Ridgeback and Terrier Mix
Our Human Partner:
I’ve been an HOV volunteer since:
2012 and 2016, respectively
Our interests, hobbies & talents:
Shanti and Gretchen love to hike with their mom and dad, but Gretchen makes fun of Shanti because she doesn’t like to get her feet wet and she’s so slow on the trails! Shanti says she’s all about taking in the scenery! Shanti and Gretchen both have a lot of commands and tricks they use to bring smiles to the HOV patients they visit.
Why we enjoy our work at HOV:
Because Shanti is a big girl and Gretchen is little, they visit with patients and families in different ways. Shanti is sometimes mistaken for a boy since she’s so big, so on her visits, she wears her pearl necklace so people know she’s a girly girl! To show off her skills, she carries a basket with all her commands inside and allows patients to pick one from the basket to perform. She’s a bit of a show off!
According to her mom, Gretchen can be a bit of a wild child at home, but when she puts her HOV vest on, she’s all business. Gretchen loves cuddling up next to her patients, either in their lap, on a bed or right next to them on a chair. One of her favorite facility rooms to visit is the beauty shop where all the ladies laugh at her wild hairdo!
Both girls love visiting their friends in group homes and skilled nursing facilities and hope that they provide some joy to others.
My Human Partner:
I’ve been an HOV Volunteer since:
My interests, hobbies and talents:
My mom and I are involved in showing off our skills in two venues involving agility. One is the American Kennel Club agility competition. Agility is an athletic event that requires conditioning, training and teamwork. Teams must negotiate an obstacle course while racing against the clock! I started 2.5 years ago and this year received a championship versatility award. I am now in all elite classes and working toward the highest level. Last summer we even traveled to Yellowstone and Utah for agility. Life doesn’t get much better than that! I also got to try dock diving this summer which was tons of fun. Earlier this year my mom said I had to help raise a service dog puppy. I wasn’t thrilled but she’s really kind of cool. I hope she gets to stay forever, but mom says she is gonna go help someone special soon.
My work at HOV:
I used to spend hours trying to help my sick human grandparents smile and feel better. My mom recognized my special talent so she made it official and we became a Pet Connections team for Hospice of the Valley. We wanted to help others. We started out going to a few small group homes and then to see a great lady in her own home. Then we found a wonderful skilled/assisted nursing facility. We go every week to see our friends. Usually they are waiting for us… some even have little parties for me and I get special treats. I am a good girl and everyone there seems to like me a lot. I really love going and can’t wait to run in to see all my favorite patients and staff!
Pets are part of our families. Losing their constant companionship and unconditional love can be devastating. Hospice of the Valley hosts a Pet Loss Support Group for those grieving the loss of their beloved companion.