Pets on Wheels - Providing Friendly Therapy Animal Visits (Therapy Dogs, Therapy Pets)

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 480 volunteer teams and currently visits over 300 facilities on the entire western shore of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay.

    Pets on Wheels volunteer teams most often visit nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living communities, libraries, veterans' hospitals, facilities for the physically and mentally challenged, facilities for children at risk of home out placement, homeless and domestic violence shelters, schools, stress free zones helping combat anxiety & depression in college students, teen diversion programs, substance abuse facilities, and incarcerational settings.

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 and Read to the Dogs. These programs allow 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.

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. In hospice environments, therapy dogs can play a role in palliative care by reducing death anxiety. (Excerpt taken from Wikipedia)

Pets On Wheels
CFC# 90148

For questions, regarding Pets on Wheels in your area, please contact the appropriate County Coordinator.

Contact Information

Central Maryland Coordinator
(Baltimore City, Baltimore, Harford, & Cecil Counties)
Cathy Mazzotta - Phone: 410-294-8501 P.O. Box 44176, Baltimore MD 21236 Fax: 410-558-6464

Western Maryland Coordinator
(Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Washington, Allegany, & Garrett Counties)
Robin Stewart - Phone: 301-996-1429 P.O. Box 113, Myersville, Maryland 21773 Fax: 443-331-0384

Lower Central Maryland Coordinator
(Anne Arundel, & Prince George's Counties)
Cathy Byerly - Phone: 443-421-0579 P.O. Box 44176, Baltimore, Maryland 21236 Fax: 1-800-451-4915

Southern Maryland Coordinator
(St. Mary's, Calvert, & Charles Counties)
Sharon Stapf - Phone: 301-974-1635 P.O. Box 544 Hollywood, MD 20636 Fax: 301-576-3910

Executive Director
Gina Kazimir - Phone: 443-977-9726 P.O. Box 44176, Baltimore MD 21236

Special thanks to:
Webmaster, Graphic Design, & Photography - Jen Pawloski
Website/Database Development & Support - Scott Johnson
Maryland Pet Gazette
Maryland Pet

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