Pet Assisted Therapy (PAT)

The Coastal Humane Society recruits community members and their animals (predominantly dogs) to volunteer and provide visitation services on a scheduled basis to community facilities. Therapy dogs and handlers go through the evaluation and observation process and become registered with Therapy Dogs Inc., or another equally qualified registering entity. We assist handlers with locating and coordinating a volunteer opportunity.

The Pet-Assisted Therapy Program facilitates visitation opportunities with children, adults, and seniors in MidCoast Maine by connecting with retirement communities, nursing homes, schools, libraries, health facilities, and other places where therapy animals are needed.

Our Animal Volunteers

Our volunteer dogs are healthy, well-behaved, and social. They have been observed and registered as therapy dogs after displaying a friendly temperament and skills adapting to new environments and meeting new people. We also coordinate with volunteers to make use of easy-going small shelter animals (cats, rabbits) to participate in visitation.

Animal Therapy Benefits:

  • Creates an opportunity for socialization
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Decreases symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Comforts and soothes
  • Encourages playfulness
  • Offers stress relief
  • Teaches skills for caring, nurturing, and responsibility

The PAT Mission

The Coastal Humane Society aims to expand opportunities for individuals to experience loving bonds with animals by creating a corps of therapy animal teams to volunteer in community spaces where there is a need for these relationships.

Particular focus will be given to those who face barriers to sustaining these relationships due to financial, medical, and environmental restraints.

The program will provide opportunities for individuals to socialize, communicate, and relax. We will increase community awareness of responsible animal care and demonstrate the health-promoting benefits of human-animal relationships.

How do I get involved?

If you think you and your dog would be a good Pet Therapy team, or if you are interested in hosting a visit at your facility, please contact our volunteer coordinator at 449-1366 ext. 6 or at volunteer@coastalhumanesociety.org.