OSF Saint Francis Medical Center

Peoria, Illinois

paws for healing Paws 4 Healing

OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and OSF Children's Hospital of Illinois are pleased to offer animal assisted therapy to our patients because we believe in treating the emotional as well as the physical needs of our patients. 

Animal Assisted Therapy uses highly trained animals and handlers to help patients achieve specific physical, social, cognitive, and emotional goals. 

Specially trained therapy dogs and their owners will, on request, visit the hospital to bring comfort to patients, reduce stress, anxiety, pain, blood pressure, and increase patient social interaction and communication.

How It Works

A dog/handler team will visit the bedside of medically qualified patients.

Interested in becoming part of our Animal-Assisted Therapy Program?

paws for healing 1.jpg Basic Qualifying Requirements:

  • Your dog should consistently perform the following with one command (i.e. "sit" and the dog puts his rear on the ground).
    • sit on command
    • down on command
    • stay and recall on command
  • Walk loosely on a leash without pulling, even when excited or in a new environment
  • Get along well with other dogs
  • Able to perform commands without treats
  • Must be currently certified by  Alliance of Therapy Dogs  or Therapy Dogs International, or Pet Partners.   Need information on how to obtain certification?  Click on the name of the organization to go to their website for additional information.
  • Dog handlers follow the same requirements as an Adult Volunteer. You will need to complete an online application, a background check, an online orientation/test, and submit immunization records (MMR, Varicella (Chickenpox), Tdap, flu and fully vaccinated for COVID-19).

paws for healing 2.jpg Other Requirements:

  • Your dog should like people
  • Not be overly vocal
  • Have no food or possession issues
  • Should not have separation anxiety issues
  • Your dog needs to be at least one year of age
  • Handlers must be 18 years or older
  • Dogs must be up to date on all vaccinations
  • Dogs must be free of all skin problems
  • Dogs must have year around flea, tick, and heartworm protection
  • Handlers must provide documentation of immunizations: MMR, Varicella (chicken pox), flu, Tdap and fully vaccinated for COVID-19

*Prong collars and gentle leaders are NOT acceptable.

How to Apply

Cute puppy with head turned slightly sideways If you and your dog would like to be considered for part of this exciting program at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Illinois, please click here to complete the Animal-Assisted Therapy volunteer application.

Please note: Current certification with one of the above listed agencies is required PRIOR to applying.

Please contact us with any questions at (309) 655-2118.