Pet Therapy

Watch Denver Health pet therapy dog "Kaylee" in action and learn more about the Pet Therapy program in this short video.

Denver Health started a pet therapy program in 2010, run entirely by volunteers and their pets.

There are 15 dogs available to visit with patients, both throughout the hospital and those visiting for outpatient services.

Therapy dogs are not the same as service dogs. Service dogs are primarily used for individuals with disabilities. Therapy dogs are trained to comfort patients.

Volunteer pet/owner teams lift the spirits and bring companionship to those who are away from home.

Studies on pet therapy have been shown to:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety and pain
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Provide mental stimulation
  • Decrease feelings of isolation
  • Encourage communication

Patients are genuinely happy to see the dogs. These pets can bring joy and relaxation to the patients and their families when they are dealing with difficult medical situations and long hospital stays. For some, just looking at a dog makes them smile.

To request a visit from a pet therapy dog, ask your nurse or contact volunteer services (for outpatient visits) at 303-602-2926.

Want to Join Our Pet Therapy Team?

The Denver Health Pet Therapy program is in search of therapy dogs to add to our team.

Here are the requirements to become a therapy pet:

  • The dog must be at least one year of age
  • A prospective member testing with a dog must own the dog for at least six months prior to testing
  • The dog must be good around other dogs
  • The dog must listen to its handler
  • The dog must allow strangers to touch it all over (tail, ears, paws, head)
  • The dog must not jump on people when interacting
  • The dog must walk on a leash without pulling
  • The dog must not mind strange noises and smells
  • The dog must be calm for petting
  • The dog must not be afraid of people walking unsteadily
  • The dog must be current on all vaccines required by the local laws
  • The dog must have a negative fecal test every 12 months
  • The dog must be clean and well groomed

If you are interested in having your dog join our Pet Therapy program, please contact Julie Weaver at to learn how your dog can bring comfort to those who need it.