The relationship between people and animals can have a profound effect on human health. Therapy animals tend to calm most patients and engage otherwise unresponsive ones. And Tallahassee Memorial, which first introduced animal-assisted therapy in 2005, has expanded that program to reach more patients, families and friends in more hospital departments.
The Tallahassee Memorial Animal Therapy Program is based on research and anecdotal evidence showing the many health benefits of loving contact between humans and animals.
Animal Therapy volunteers and their pets spend time with the hospital’s patients to improve their mental health, motivation, rehabilitation, pain management, stress relief and health education therapies. The volunteer teams have received special training and achieved national registration to become TMH Animal Therapy Teams. Highly Qualified
In late 2011, TMH merged with Companions For Therapy, Tallahassee’s first animal therapy program and one of the largest and most respected in the U.S.
Since 1985, ComForT has coordinated visits by animal therapy teams to Big Bend nursing homes, hospitals, schools and, eventually, courtrooms. In 1997, the program was featured in an HBO special and received a National Service Award.
Now, after working with TMH patients since 2005 and demonstrating their healing gifts to the TMH staff, Companions For Therapy has become a TMH program.
Animal Therapy Teams are trained according to the standards established by Pet Partners, the international sanctioning organization for more than 11,000 therapy teams worldwide. Each animal is examined by a veterinarian and certified to be in good health.
Animal Therapy has more than 150 teams visiting 50 different facilities, in groups and as individual teams. Our therapy animals are mostly dogs, but we also have cats, rabbits, miniature horses and even the nation’s only registered therapy mule. Learn More on How to Get Involved