POOCH Volunteers

Pets Offering Ongoing Care and Healing Program

Dogs and their owners in The Barbara Cowen POOCH Volunteer Program provide a wide range of services throughout Cedars-Sinai. With their unconditional love and acceptance, dogs offer heartwarming and supportive experiences to patients and their family members — unlike anything experienced within human relationships.

The activities of POOCH volunteers include:

  • Gentle play
  • Walking with patients
  • Visiting patients to provide emotional support
  • Visiting family members in the surgical lobby
  • Letting patients brush and pet the dog
  • Representing Cedars-Sinai in community outreach activities

If you think you and your dog would enjoy being POOCH volunteers, you must meet these initial requirements before you can be considered:

Ownership: Dogs must be owned by the volunteer who will work with the dog at the hospital.

Pet Partners Registration: All prospective POOCH dogs must be registered through Pet Partners, formerly called Delta Society, prior to being accepted as a POOCH volunteer at Cedars-Sinai. See the Pet Partners registration information.

Adult Volunteer Application: Complete the Adult Volunteer application, required for all new volunteers.

Getting Started as a POOCH Volunteer

Dog teams must be acceptable to the POOCH volunteer coordinator prior to screening with the veterinarian. Our POOCH teams must demonstrate appropriate and sensitive interaction with patients, and must be able to accommodate individual needs.

Owner Requirements

  • Four hour general orientation
  • Job-specific training
  • Health clearance requirement for the dog owner

Dog Requirements

  • Pass veterinary medical and behavioral screening examinations and demonstrate proficiency in basic obedience skills
  • Be house trained
  • Have updated tests for the following:
    • Distemper
    • Hepatitis
    • Leptospirosis
    • Parainfluenza
    • Parvo
    • Rabies
    • Fecal sample through Cedars-Sinai, given every six months

Volunteers must maintain a regular schedule of visitations.

Contact us for more information.