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Therapy Animals

Companionship that Heals


Unconditional love, friendship, warmth, and joy

represent the animals we love.  They give something that has a visceral impact on us all from patients, to staff, and to visitors to our hospice unit.  Horizon offers the opportunity for patients to experience the special closeness that only an animal can bring. Regular visits from our therapy animals provide the opportunity for our patients to experience sheer joy.

Pet lovers and healthcare providers acknowledge the therapeutic benefits of animals.

Therapy pets can:

                Give the hospice environment a more peaceful, home-like feeling

                Provide a pleasant, calming sensation while stroking a therapy pet

                Improve one’s physical comfort and a sense of general well-being

                Provide spontaneity and enjoyment that relieves tension and stress

                Be the topic of conversation, story and reminiscence

                Offer a bond of unconditional regard and connection

The therapy dogs and therapy cat that visit our unit are part of Health Heelers Inc., a professional therapy dog service from Menomonee Falls, WI.

Laura Hey, Founder of Health Heelers, has a degree in Animal-Assisted Therapy and is a health care professional. The blending of her experience and expertise in the areas of therapy dog/cat programs, and animal temperament and behavior, enables Horizon Hospice to provide this exceptional service to our patients and families.

These therapy animals are special family pets that, alongside their handlers, have been through extensive testing and training.

Initially, these animals are screened by Laura to assure that they have the proper temperament and skills needed to become great therapy dogs and cats! After a specialized class to help prepare them for a stringent test that assesses obedience, temperament, safety and social skills, the animals and their handlers who pass the test are registered as a team with a national organization called the Pet Partners. Once registered, each team goes through an orientation and extensive training on the Inpatient Unit with Laura.


We would like you to meet some of our therapy animals and hear a little bit about what makes them such a wonderful therapy animal.


a husky/sharpei mix born May 15, 2006. He and his mom, Anne, have been a Health Heelers team since June of 2011. Caesar loves snow, long walks in the woods and meeting people! He considers himself the official greeter of the entire world and is always looking for a pet


a shorthair cat born June 1, 2006. She and her mom, Anne, have been a Health Heelers team since November of 2011. Juliet loves to snuggle next to patients and purr while taking a quick cat nap. She loves Christmas time with all the boxes to climb in, colorful ribbons to swat, and tissue paper to crinkle


a Coton deTulear born January 19, 2009. She and Bill, have been a Health Heelers team since April of 2013. The word ‘Coton’ in Bella’s breed means cotton, because her coat is as soft as cotton. Bella is the perfect size for snuggling up in patient’s laps or next to them on their bed. 


a whippet born November 22, 2004. He and his mom Coleen have been a Health Heelers team since June of 2010. Elliot’s specialty is curling up, stretching out, or sitting pretty~ what- ever it takes to share the best snuggles & cuddles with patients on the IPU


a Basset Hound born June 20, 2004. He and his mom, June, have been a Health Heelers team since December of 2013. Toto lost his eye to glaucoma and is a reminder to make every day the best it can be, despite challenges.