What is Pet Therapy?

Pets have long been known to have positive effects on people’s mental and physical health. They bring companionship and joy into our lives and give unconditional love. In hospice, Pet Therapy is a powerful tool for helping people at end-of-life ease stress and anxiety and combat loneliness. Our specially trained and certified Pet Therapy Volunteers and their pets focus on bringing companionship and comfort to individuals, families, and caregivers in a wide variety of settings.

Benefits of Pet Therapy in Hospice Care

Studies have shown pet therapy offers many psychological and physical benefits, such as:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Easing loneliness
  • Lowering anxiety
  • Relieving stress
  • Improving depressive symptoms
  • Increasing cognitive function
  • Aid in memory recall
  • Increase sense of well-being
  • Promotes conversation
  • Helps to reduce physical pain

Get Involved

Are you interested in becoming a pet therapy volunteer? Please contact Minnesota Hospice to learn how you and your furry companion can bring joy and companionship to individuals, families, and caregivers at end-of-life.


While many animals can be used in pet therapy, such as rabbits and horses, dogs are the most common in animal-assisted therapy. Minnesota Hospice requires all animals and their handlers to be certified through an accredited program. For more information on the requirements for pet therapy training and certification, please visit the Therapy Dogs International website at

            Common Requirements for Animal Volunteers

  • House trained
  • No history of aggressive behavior and welcomes human interaction
  • Obedient to commands, such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come”
  • Up to date on all vaccinations

            Common Requirements for Human Volunteers

  • Maintains calm control over the animal
  • Mindful of animal’s safety at all times
  • Reinforces animal’s appropriate social interactions with others
  • Aware of body language cues that signal anxiety, stress, and exhaustion
  • Comfortable with casual conversation
  • Politely guides others on how to best interact with their pet

Meet Our Team

About Us

All people deserve love, compassion, and dignity at end-of-life. At Minnesota Hospice, we strive to empower people to live life as fully as possible on their terms. Our team is filled with experienced professionals dedicated to walking with you during this part of life’s sacred journey. We provide the highest level of hospice care possible to help people find meaning, purpose, love, and beauty in living before departing life peacefully.

Contact Us For More Information or to Schedule a Complimentary Consultation

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“We do not remember days, we remember moments.”

Cesare Pavese

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