Certified Dog Visit - Handler Guidelines

Note: To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Certified Dog Visitation program is temporarily suspended. If you need to be accompanied by a service dog during your visit, please call 1-800-777-8442 in advance to request approval.

The Certified Dog Visitation Program is coordinated by the Department of Rehabilitation Therapies at University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. Current Pet Partners® handlers may contact the Department of Rehabilitation Therapies at 1-319-356-2663 to begin the application process.

Have you considered volunteering with your dog? We always have more requests for visits from patients than our dog/handler teams can provide. There is great information on the Pet Partners website about volunteering. You can also watch their Volunteering with Your Pet video and take their short, fun quiz to find out if you and your pet would make a great Pet Partners Therapy team! Below is the checklist all UI Health Care Pet Partner teams complete.

Checklist for UI Hospitals & Clinics Pet Partner Teams

  • Recreation Therapist (RT) sends application and guidelines for handlers to potential teams certified by Pet Partners®
  • RT schedules a screening interview with pet partner team. At interview:
    • RT assesses team for appropriateness for program
    • RT explains program participation requirements:
      • Handler must become UI Health Care volunteer, attend the volunteer information session, pass criminal background check clearance, obtain a two-step TB test and provide proof of immunizations to University Employee Health Clinic, and complete 10 hours through Volunteer Services Office (VSO) office
      • Handler must maintain active UI Health Care volunteer status:
        • Complete annual compliances such as a confidentiality and competency quiz, stay up to date with immunizations, etc.
        • Record volunteer hours by logging in and out on touchscreen in VSO for each visit
      • Team must keep Pet Partners® Registration current and provide this information and the annual health certificate (G-30b) to VSO
    • RT instructs handler to start the process to become a UI Health Care volunteer online.
    • RT measures dog for vest
  • RT to forward pet partner names to VS Director
  • Handler completes volunteer intake process and schedules first interview with VS Director.
    • At this interview, handler provides VS with a copy of their Pet Partners® badge for their file and receives:
      • Health certificate (G-30b)
      • Responsibility waiver (G-30c)
  • When all documentation is complete, the handler will be given paperwork to obtain the volunteer photo ID badge
  • Once the handler has obtained their volunteer photo ID badge, the handler should contact RT to schedule shadow of experienced team on dog visit
  • RT contacts handler to schedule first visit with RT or experienced team handler