Dr. Frank Folke Furstenberg, a retired allergist and Sinai Hospital physician wants to measure the effectiveness of pet visitation on shut-ins. He develops a pilot program with volunteer teams visiting four nursing homes and finds that the stimulation of playing with animals benefits the patients significantly.
Pets on Wheels shares the love of friendly therapy pets to help improve life, connecting our pets with people to make a profound positive difference every day.
From a pilot project of just four individual visits, our therapy pet teams now log more than 175,000 touches with people at nearly 400 facilities and special events in an average year. Regularly visiting nursing homes and hospitals, assisted living facilities, homeless and domestic violence shelters, veterans’ hospitals, libraries, schools, colleges, corporate campuses and more, Pets on Wheels volunteers log over 12,000 hours a year to fight stress and help lick loneliness one visit at a time.
We are a 501(c)3 organization and receive NO funding from any government agency or health department. Our budget is supported solely by private donations from people just like you and from our corporate and foundation sponsors. Our donors and volunteers make our mission possible.
Pets on Wheels becomes part of the Baltimore City Department of Aging. The program grows to reach people across the metro area.
Pets on Wheels incorporates as a private 501(c)3 nonprofit, federal ID # is 52-1657528.
Pets on Wheels adds more facilities to its visiting roster and expands into Baltimore County.
Funding from the Department of Aging and other state and local sources stops. Library reading programs start to be added to our program.
Pets on Wheels develops a unique proprietary database to capture information on our visits. Our service area expands to cover most of Maryland west of the Bay.
Pets on Wheels continues to professionalize the organization to ensure long term sustainability. The Future Fund Legacy Giving Program is introduced, along with an expansion of services to individuals as we look toward 40 more years.
What is a therapy pet?
A therapy pet is love that you can touch. And at Pets on Wheels, that love may be covered in fur, feathers or even scales.
That’s because our therapy pets come in all sizes, breeds and species. Any animal that is legal to own and that passes our health and temperament screening may qualify as a therapy pet.
That means you might find a purebred champion show dog making a visit, a shelter cat, a disabled pet sharing love, or even an alpaca or a tortoise bringing smiles to people as part of a Pets on Wheels therapy pet team.
Because we accept a wide variety of animals into our program, we do not offer nor require any specific training for a companion animal to become certified as a therapy pet. We do have strict requirements for health and behavior, but the most important part of a therapy pet is heart.
Therapy pets need to want to do the work and enjoy interactions with a variety of people. They need to be well behaved, but most of all they need to want to share their love. It’s not a job for every pet, but for those who want to do it, it’s magic made real.