The TOUCH program certifies volunteers and their personal pet to provide pet-visitation therapy services to a wide range of healthcare facilities in the St. Louis Metropolitan area, including hospice facilities. These visits are usually scheduled twice a month and last approximately one hour in length. These facilities range from hospitals to nursing homes to cancer treatment facilities to long-term care facilities. Any facility can participate in the TOUCH program if their population could benefit from a visit from a specially-trained canine.
The goal of these visits is to provide an “escape” for the patient or resident from their current health situation. With wagging tails and plenty of wet kisses, the TOUCH dogs help to lower blood pressure, incentivize patients in their therapy, improve the mood of the patient or resident, and simply provide a happy time for conversation and tactile stimulation.
All TOUCH services are provided at no cost to over 90 sites in the metropolitan area. As Support Dogs most populous program, the TOUCH volunteers number close to 300 and visit over 100,000 patients, residents, facility staff, and family on an annual basis.
Once the evaluation is complete, the volunteer can choose which class segment(s) to take in order to become certified to visit adults, children, or both.
To get involved with this exciting program, please fill out a Support Dogs volunteer application.