Pets on Wheels is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that brings therapy animals to facilities across Maryland for friendly visits. Pets on Wheels has over 400 volunteer teams and currently visits over 290 facilities on the entire western shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.
Pets on Wheels volunteer teams most often visit:
A Pets on Wheels visit can provide a resident confined to a facility the opportunity to interact with a friendly pet who loves unconditionally, can brighten the day, and improve morale. A therapy animal can lower anxiety and blood pressure and have a calming effect on the recipients of their visits. Pets on Wheels therapy animals can also visit libraries to participate in reading programs like PAWS to Read. PAWS to Read is a program that allows children the opportunity to eliminate peer preesure and have a non-judgemental listening ear in a Pets on Wheels therapy pet. Pets on Wheels therapy pets visit several libraries across Maryland to make these visits, including many Baltimore County and Carroll County libraries, as well as the Enoch Pratt Free Library Branches. View the Pets on Wheels reading program schedule.
What is a therapy dog?
A therapy dog is a dog trained to provide affection and comfort to people in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes, schools, hospices, people with learning difficulties, and stressful situations, such as disaster areas.
Therapy dogs come in all sizes and breeds. The most important characteristic of a therapy dog is its temperament. A good therapy dog must be friendly, patient, confident, gentle, and at ease in all situations. Therapy dogs must enjoy human contact and be content to be petted and handled, sometimes clumsily.
A therapy dog's primary job is to allow unfamiliar people to make physical contact with it and to enjoy that contact. Children in particular enjoy hugging animals; adults usually enjoy simply petting the dog. The dog might need to be lifted onto, or climb onto, an individual's lap or bed and sit or lie comfortably there. Many dogs contribute to the visiting experience by performing small tricks for their audience or by playing carefully structured games. In hospice environments, therapy dogs can play a role in palliative care by reducing death anxiety. (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia)
Pets on Wheels' Visits Presentation Video
For questions, regarding Pets on Wheels in your area, please contact the appropriate County Coordinator.