OSF St. Anthony looking for new therapy dogs - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

OSF St. Anthony looking for new therapy dogs

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center wants to recruit your furry best friend.

The hospital's Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) program is looking for social, well-mannered, predictable dogs. The program uses trained animals and handlers to assist patients with physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals. They also help reduce stress, anxiety, and blood pressure.

The program is hosting temperament testing for candidates by appointment on Sunday, March 17. Time slots are from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon, and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the hospital. The testing is $20 and the fee is refunded if the dog does not pass.

Dogs that pass the testing have to attend a mandatory training program held Friday through Sunday, May 3-5 with Dog Builders and Paws 4 Therapy. Dogs who successfully complete that program will be registered with a therapy dog organization.

Dogs must meet the following requirements:

  • Must be at least one year old
  • Demonstrate proficiency in basic obedience
  • Be up-to-date on inoculations (including rabies, distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, par influenza, Bordetella and corona virus)
  • Must have lived with handlers for a minimum of six months
  • Must be clean with no signs of fleas, ticks or dermatitis
  • Have proof of annual heartworm test

If admitted to the program, dogs must be on flea protection year-round. Dogs with allergies will not be permitted. Handlers must be at least 18, dependable, prompt, and have good communication skills.

For more information or to sign up for testing, call Theresa Geraci, BSN, RN at 815-227-2500. Applications can be found at www.osfsaintanthony.org/about/animal-assisted.html.

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