The HSSC Pet Therapy Program connects caring people and their special animals with opportunities to bring comfort, happiness, and humane education to a wide range of adults and children throughout Sarasota County. Teams visit a variety of organizations: schools, senior care campuses, hospitals, special needs facilities, and more.
Our Pet Therapy Program began in 1992. After short hiatus, it was reinstated in 2015 and has been growing steadily ever since. There are now over 80 certified HSSC Pet Therapy Teams. These dedicated human-animal teams play a vital role in raising community awareness of the many joys of responsible pet ownership. We believe the soothing effects of touching and communicating with animals should be available to everyone faced with health challenges, and we thank you for being willing to help us make that happen.
If you are interested in joining our Pet Therapy Program, Click Here to Apply.
Your application will be reviewed, then you will be contacted regarding the next steps, which include a screening interview, a safe dog handling course, and a two-part assessment.
If you and your dog meet all the requirements, you will be charged a $50 fee, which covers our cost to issue your Pet Therapy polo, dog bandana, name badge, and liability insurance for one year. Thereafter, you will be charged an annual fee of $40 to maintain your insurance and membership in the program.
Here are some of our current Pet Therapy sites:
Aviva – A Campus of Senior Life
Bay Pines VA Outpatient Clinic
Brookdale Senior Living – Sarasota
Emma Booker Elementary School
Genesis Healthcare – Springwood Center
Gocio Elementary School
Inspired Living – Sarasota
Longboat Key Fire & Rescue
Manor Care – Sarasota
Mental Health Community Center
More to Life
New College of Florida
New Gate Montessori
North Sarasota County Library
Out of Door Academy
Pines of Sarasota
Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Sea of Strengths Academy
Senior Friendship Center
State Attorney’s Office – Sarasota
Suncoast School for Innovative Studies-SSIS
The Boys & Girls Club of Venice
University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee
We are proud to offer our active volunteers a 25% discount on services at our Animal Clinic, and a 10% discount on retail purchases at both the Animal Clinic and our Adoptions Retail Center. To claim your discount, please let staff know at the time of scheduling or purchase. New volunteers must have contributed at least 15 hours before they are eligible for discounts. Training time counts towards those 15 hours.