A national model for visiting animal team programs, the Pet Hug Pack® is ARF’s renowned therapy animal team composed of more than 185 teams of qualified pets and their volunteer handlers spreading pet-assisted comfort throughout Contra Costa County since 2002. Each year, thousands of children, seniors, veterans, and others in need experience the wet noses and unconditional love of these special dogs and cats during visits in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, schools, adult day care facilities, and more.
Maddie and her handler Jeanne made frequent visits to patients at a local skilled nursing facility, including an elderly man suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Although he did not speak, his eyes would light up with happiness every time Jeanne lifted Maddie into his lap. One day, to everyone’s surprise, his lips formed words. “Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful,” he repeated softly as he stroked her fur. Every time they returned, the man would hold Maddie and pet her, summoning words and for the little dog, and no one else.
Pet Hug Pack® pets are evaluated to ensure they are well-mannered, healthy, and of sound temperament. Aside from regular visits to more than 70 facilities, Pet Hug Pack® animals participate in All Ears Reading®, humane education programs, and outreach events as ARF ambassadors and symbols of uncondional love and compassion.
Is your pet an excellent candidate for the Pet Hug Pack®? Join the pack!
Invite the Pet Hug Pack® to visit your facility for 30-60 minutes of casual animal interaction. Contact the Pet Hug Pack® Coordinator or call (925) 296-3176 to make arrangements. This service is provided free of charge.
Does your group want to start or improve a visiting animal team program in your area? ARF can provide guidance and resource materials. Contact the Pet Hug Pack® Coordinator for more information.