Children's Hospital Colorado

How to Join the Prescription Pet Program

A black lab, miniature schnauzer, golden retriever and lab/golden mix pose in front of Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. These dogs and their owners visit patients in the hospital.

Thank you for your interest in the Prescription Pet Program! We look forward to meeting you and your pooch.

While we love all dogs, only a small percentage of pups meet the strict requirements to be in a hospital setting. Please carefully review the following information before proceeding.

Prescription pet checklist

Before applying, please ensure that you and your dog meet the following requirements:

You are:

  • At least 18 years old

  • Available to bring your dog for visits at least twice per month for about 2 to 3 hours per visit

  • Able to bathe and groom your dog the day before or the day of each visit

  • Willing to undergo a human health screening

  • Willing and able to complete a thorough screening process for your dog that includes a behavioral and medical evaluation, fecal and throat cultures, veterinary exam and documentation of vaccinations

  • Willing to attend volunteer orientation, four mandatory training sessions and regular screenings throughout your time in the Program

  • Keen to participate in meetings and fundraising events to support the Program

Your dog:

  • Is between 2 and 9 years of age

  • Has been with you for more than 6 months

  • Has never been fed raw foods or a raw food diet (due to high risk of Salmonella)

  • Is not a service dog for their owner (in any capacity)

  • Is not a breed included in a local breed ban

  • Has never demonstrated any viciousness, unpredictability, extreme submission or attempt to bite

What makes a successful prescription pet

In addition to the basic requirements above, successful prescription pets are:

  • Highly socialized and obedient in many different environments, such as parks, shopping areas, friends’ homes, dog parks and public patios
  • Quickly adaptable to new settings
  • Focused on and responsive to their owner
  • Great with people, especially kids

Obedience test

In order to become a prescription pet, your dog must pass an obedience test. Your dog is expected to:

  • Consistently obey commands including sit, stay, down, heel and leave it
  • Follow loose-leash heeling without any harnesses, nose harnesses, pinch collars or choke chains
  • Remain calm and quickly recover from unexpected events including distractions, exuberant greetings and being in crowded or unpredictable environments

Next steps

If you and your dog meet all the requirements detailed above, we invite you to apply to the Prescription Pet Program. Please complete the following form with your contact details. One of our volunteers will follow up with you within a week or two to begin the interview process.

Thank you!

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