03 9328 3021

Pet Therapy

At Lort Smith we believe in and promote the benefits of the human-animal bond which goes beyond companionship. This bond refers to the strong positive interaction that exists between humans and animals - the special cohesive bond that actually enhances human quality of life.

The positive impact of the human-animal bond is real and is backed by scientific data, case studies and research that validates the therapeutic effects of human-animal relationships. These benefits can be emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual and are created when an animal's antics cause us to laugh or an animal aids us in therapy.

In recognition of the human-animal bond, Lort Smith provides a free Pet Therapy service which has now been running for nearly 30 years.

In this program, volunteers take their good-natured dogs to many facilities across Melbourne including aged care facilities, hospitals, rehabilitation centres and hostels. The aim of the program is to help improve the wellbeing of patients, residents and their families through positive contact with visiting volunteers and their dogs. 

We constantly hear beautiful and heart-warming stories resulting from these visits and we encourage anyone who has spare time and a placid pooch to enquire about getting involved. 

Got a question about Pet Therapy?

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about Pet Therapy. If your question is not here please send us an email.

What is the Pet Therapy Program?
What is the aim?
How often do volunteers visit?
How long does a visit last?
What kinds of dogs are accepted?
How do we assess the dogs?
What about insurance?
What kind of facility would I be visiting?
Can I take my cat?

Interested in becoming a Pet Therapy volunteer?

Please visit Current Vacancies to find out more. 

Lort Smith Pet Therapy volunteers will need to complete these steps before getting involved:

1. Attend an information session. Click here to find out how to register

2. Complete an application form, dog profile and have a dog health form completed by your vet.  

3. Attend a group dog assessment and interview.

Following a conversation with the Pet Therapy Coordinator, you and your dog will be matched to an appropriate facility. 

4. Complete a Police Check, complete a statutory declaration and, where applicable, a Working With Children Check.

5. Attend training at Lort Smith. 

6. Participate in a facility assessment and/or trial period at your new facility. 


Want to find out more?

Please contact us by calling 03 9321 7233 or send us an email.

Volunteer Portal


The Royal Children's Hospital

Read about how Pet Therapy is making a difference at The Royal Children's Hospital.

Read more

"It's such a lovely program and is a great way to give something back"

Annie Stillman, Volunteer

Lort Smith Contact Details