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Pet Assisted Therapy
Pet Assisted Therapy

video clipA survey once asked people to choose who they would want to be stranded with on a deserted island.  Over half picked a dog or cat. Being old, losing your memory and/or your ability to care for oneself, or being isolated in a hospital due to illness or injury is akin to living on such a deserted island.   

Pet Assisted Therapy creates an environment – if only for a few minutes each week – that provides the familiarity those animals bring to combat loneliness and aid in the healing process. Our Pet Assisted Therapy program goes beyond traditional treatment by providing a warm body to cuddle up next to and a spirit-lifting wagging tail to cheer the patients up.  It lets the patients know that they are needed and loved and helps to improve their quality of life.

Our Pet Assisted Therapy teams (we now have bunnies, a parrot, cockatoos and when available a miniature horse in addition to dogs) visit many locations throughout the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles.  Each volunteer receives training and must be the guardian of a pet which is able to pass prescribed pet behavioral tests, be spayed/neutered, fully vaccinated and well groomed.  Depending upon the size of the facility, each team (or a combination of several teams) visits each facility at least monthly for an average visit of one hour.  Because the therapy teams are well loved by both staff and patients, they are invited to join in many of the other festivities offered by the facility and often times celebrate holidays and birthdays with favorite patients.Pet Assisted Therapy

It was in 1989 that our first therapy dog Meagan entered Northridge Hospital to embark on an odyssey that has grown into a full-scale program of many facilities, numerous volunteers and an assortment of wonderful animals! 

If you are interested in becoming a Pet Assisted Therapy volunteer or know of a facility that would like to start such a program, please send us an email.


Bitsy Jack
Actors and Others for Animals Pet Assisted Therapy, Bitsyis a 5 year old American Eskimo who was a shelter rescue. Her sweet disposition made her perfect for our pet therapy program. Along with her guardian Rick she makes weekly and holiday visits to: Sherman Oaks Hospital, Encino Hospital, West Hills Hospital, Grossman Burn Center, Sherman Oaks Health and Rehabilitation Center, and Hollywood Community Hospital of Van Nuys!
Actors and Others for Animals Pet Assisted Therapy, Jackthis energetic Labrador Retriever didn’t quite make it as a guide dog for the blind, but has been terrific as a pet therapy dog. He is a huge hit at Canyon Oaks Convalescent Hospital and West Hills Hospital where he visits with his guardian Carole.
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Playful Errol Grey
Actors and Others for Animals Pet Assisted Therapy, Playfulis a lovely Shepherd Mix who was adopted from the shelter by Lisa. Playful makes regular visits to Tarzana Rehabilitation Center and is enjoying wearing her new Pet Therapy vest.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Randi Besse, Poppy and Selkia sweet Amazon Grey parrot who loves to dance to music. His favorite show is “Dancing with the Stars”. Accompanying his guardian Suzanne he entertains patients at both the VA Hospitals at West Los Angeles and North Hills.
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O’Neal Rodney
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, O'Neal this special Labrador Retriever spent years being a devoted guide dog. He had a rough time when his guardian passed away. He is now nicely adjusted and living with his late guardian’s son, Michael, and daughter-in-law, Lyudmila. O’Neal had missed having a job and is very happy visiting retired veterans at the VA Hospital in North Hills.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Rodney this amazing Old English Sheepdog came the farthest to join our Pet Therapy program. Born in a puppy mill in Taiwan, Rodney was eventually saved by Golden Retriever Rescue here in California. After Barbara adopted him she was certain that he’d be perfect for pet therapy. We whole-heartedly agreed! She and Rodney now brighten the day for the patients and staff of West Hills Hospital and the Grossman Burn Center.
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Breezy, George, and Cody Rex and Mr. Flopsy
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Breezy, George, and Cody are semi-retired acting dogs who have appeared in many television shows, movies and commercials. Professional animal trainer Barbara Gordon has made it her mission to help our veterans. She is working on a program to rescue dogs from the shelters, train them, and have them become pet therapy dogs going into VA hospitals. With volunteers Lee and Cindy she brings Cody, Breezy, and George to visit the patients at the VA hospitals in North Hills and West Los Angeles.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Rex and Mr. Flopsy are two rabbits that have a unique story. Tierra Del Sol in Sunland offers programs for individuals with developmental disabilities. All of the adults have various jobs to help the community. A dozen of their volunteers take the bunnies from the Tierra Del Sol farm to visit the residents of: Broadview Residential Care, Rinaldi Convalescent Hospital, and Valley Palms Care Center.
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Benny and Laddie Maggie
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Benny and Laddi are both rescues adopted by our long-time volunteer Kathy. Laddie, the Golden Retriever, survived a terrible ordeal to be with us now. In his former home he was stabbed during a burglary. He did not get proper medical care at the time and when rescued he had a rough recovery. The happy ending is that Laddie and Benny (the Shepherd Mix) are best buddies. Another long-time Actors & Others volunteer, Elodie, joins Kathy to take both dogs on visits to Tarzana Rehabilitation Center.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Maggieis the first English Setter we’ve had in our program. Maggie has been a Pet Therapy dog for over a year now. A very sweet, calm girl she visits Lake Balboa Care Center each week with her guardian Eleanor.
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Lizzie Perry
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Lizzieis an outgoing Labrador Retriever adopted by Diana in hopes that she could be a therapy dog. Her dog Buster had to retire after years of service. Lizzie has taken over his spot at Sherman Oaks Hospital and is being greatly enjoyed by the patients there.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Perry started out his life as an abandoned puppy found in the mountains by kayaker Connie. Perry became her first dog. He now has his own life vest for kayaking trips. When not shooting rapids, he does tricks for the residents and staff of Providence-St. Elizabeth Care Center.
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Bailey Peaches
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Baileywas found wandering the streets at Christmastime. His rescuer Monica named him in honor of Jimmy Stewart’s character George Bailey of “It’s a Wonderful Life”. His friendly nature was obvious. When Monica called Actors and Others about our pet therapy program, we advised her to give him training before our test. After a basic obedience class, Bailey passed the test with flying colors. He and Monica now visit Sherman Oaks Hospital together.
Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Peachesis a beautiful Moluccan Cockatoo. His outgoing personality makes him perfect for our Pet Therapy program. He and his guardian, Dorothy, have been visiting the seniors at Emeritus Retirement Home for the past 11 years!.
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Actors and Others for Animals, Pet Assisted Therapy, Breezy, George, and Codyis a darling girl whatever breed she might be. We call her a Whippet mix, but a doggie DNA test couldn’t determine what she is. She is quiet and sweet and is enjoying visiting the senior center O.N.E. with her guardian Katherine.
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Pet Assisted Therapy