Tomah Health to train therapy dogs, looking for interested pet-owners

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) — Tomah Health is looking for pet owners who are willing to train their dog to help others.

The hospital is offering complimentary pet therapy certification to select dogs, with the idea that those dogs will then comfort hospital patients.

Hospital volunteer coordinator Kasey Bloom said Pet Therapy certification is being offered to select dogs. “We want dogs and their owners who are looking to volunteer their time with Hospice and provide Pet Therapy for our Hospice Touch / Palliative Care patients,” Bloom said.

The Pet Therapy Certification will include six, one-hour training sessions beginning at 10 a.m. July 15, 29, Aug. 5, 12, 19 & 28 at the Exhibit Building at Recreation Park in Tomah. Training will be provided by Happy Trails Training Center, LLC.

Dogs and handlers will complete the course with a certified therapy dog. Owners must complete the hospice volunteer orientation after the dog certification course and dogs must meet the standards outlined by the Therapy Dogs International Testing Requirements.

“Not all dogs are able to become a certified therapy dog, but owners might be surprised that their dog could help others during trying and difficult times,” Bloom explained. She added that if dogs do not meet requirements, they may be asked to wait and come to a later class.

Dogs must also be up-to-date on all shots including a current rabies vaccine. Documents will need to be presented at the first class. Masks will be required of owners while indoors and social distancing will be followed.

Register by July 12 by calling the Tomah Health Hospice Touch / Life Choices Palliative Care office at (608)374-0250.