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 over 25 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?

Pet Therapy applications for 2017 have now closed.

Our next intake is likely to be in 2018, however due to overwhelming interest in our Pet Therapy program, we are currently not accepting expressions of interest for this volunteer role and are not adding names to our waiting list.

When we open our next intake we will advertise for expressions of interest via our website. 

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

1. Attend an information session at Lort Smith. 

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 at Lort Smith.

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

4. Attend an individual assessment with your dog. 

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

6. Attend training at Lort Smith. 

Want a Pet Therapy team to visit your facility?

Thank you for your interest in Lort Smith Pet Therapy for your facility. Due to an overwhelming response, we are no longer taking expressions of interests from new facilities for 2017.

We anticipate reopening expressions of interest in mid-2018, and will update our website when this occurrs. We look forward to hearing from you then.

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