—Isa Helfrich, German Shepherd & therapy dog (typed by Deb Helfrich, Vice President)
QUESTION: My mom’s got family coming from out of town and mom would like them to come with us on a visit to see us do our therapy dog thing. Is that okay? — Grace (handled by John and Melinda Micheletto)
ANSWER: Dear Grace, Thank you for asking this question! It is so nice that you would want to have additional family members go with you and your mom and I think it is a terrific idea which will bring even more joy to the people you visit. While TDV policy says TDV dogs can only be handled on duty by the person(s) they were testing and evaluated with, there is no specific policy on bringing along visitors when making therapy dog visits to a facility.
However, here’s what I’d advise:
- Always check beforehand with the facility you visit—they will advise you on their policy for having visitors come with you. Some of the places I have been welcome visitors, while others must be more restrictive due to security, patient confidentiality, health concerns, etc.
- If you do have people with you, be mindful that patients may not want extra visitors and that visitors with you must also adhere to facility and TDV policies (especially those referring to safety and infection control).