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Calvary Seeks to Expand Pet Therapy Program

Since mid-2015, Calvary Hospital has welcomed people with certified therapy dogs to visit patients regularly at the Bronx campus. These visits are eagerly anticipated by patients and family members. All breeds are welcome as long as the dogs are certified by any of the organizations listed below.

There are currently two teams that visit patients at the Bronx campus. One is comprised of Calvary nurse Kathy Figueroa, RN, who visits the Bronx campus regularly with her 3-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Harley. Chloe, a 5-year-old Husky mix owned by Cara Scotti, also makes regular visits.

Kathy Figueroa, RN and her Yorkie, Harley
A close up of Harley
Chloe visiting with patient Barbara Mitchell

All person and dog teams that visit Calvary patients at the Bronx campus must meet the following requirements:

  1. The person should contact Stephanie Mastropaolo at Calvary’s Family Care Center to first let her know of their interest; smastropaolo@calvaryhospital.org or 718-518-2000, ext. 2108
  2. Stephanie will help each person navigate the hospital’s volunteer training process (a background check, medical evaluation, and attend orientation)
  3. Dogs must have proof of therapy dog certification by organizations such as: Pet Partners; Alliance of Therapy Dogs; DogAbility Therapy Dogs; The Good Dog Foundation; Love on a Leash; and Therapy Dogs International
  4. Written proof of current (within past 12 months) vaccinations including rabies
  5. Team must commit to a minimum of two visits per month (at least 1 hour each time) to Calvary’s Bronx or Brooklyn Campus
  6. While the dog is on-site, it must be accompanied at all times by a person ages 18 years old or older.

Once the human-dog team has met all the requirements listed above, they need to let Stephanie know of their availability before making any visits