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I have a very sweet Shih Tzu dog who loves people. I believe her visits would bring great joy to the residents. We live in Buda, TX and would be willing to go to South Austin and San Marcos I am thinking assisted living and/or nursing homes would be the area for visits; but I am not sure. Any information or input you can provide on what I need to do to be able to make these visits is greatly appreciated.

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It's very kind of you to want to do this. Just call the administrator and ask what their policy is. When my dad was in a local nursing home, if I saw anyone with a pet, I'd ask them if they could stop by Dad's room. It meant a lot to him, especially when it was a dog, and most people were very willing.

The Eden Alternative is one group that actively promotes having animals around for the residents, though many other homes do, as well. Please follow through. Each home is different, so you'll have to call around.
Take care - and thanks for caring!
Carol
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Your profile mentions you are caring for someone. If that person is in a facility, why don't you start with that one, or one closest to your home? I think just calling the administrator of the facility would probably be the first logical step to find out what their requirements are (for security purposes, possibly identity/background check). I have heard of such visits and that they are very therapeutic to the elderly, but sorry, I don't know the specifics of how to get your foot in the door. It's a generous ambition for volunteerism - Good luck!!
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Google is da bomb. Look for Therapy dogs international - for information.
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While my mom was in rehab we took our chihuahua in to visit her several times. Just needed her proof of current vacines. Bella was always a big hit with the staff, and this helped with Mom's care because everyone wanted to talk about Bella! The residents all loved her too! We just kept her on the leash and were careful about her being so small . I agree, start with the home you are used to visiting and make sure your dog is really comfortable too
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When my dad was in the nursing home I used to take my Bichon with me and the elderly people there loved to pet on him. He was a sweet little passive boy.
I'm interested in seeing what others post.
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