The People-Animal Connection hosts monthly Pet Visit Stations at both Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, and at UCLA Medical Center Santa Monica. These visit stations are held on the last Thursday of each month at Ronald Reagan near the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital entrance. In Santa Monica, the visit station takes place on the last Wednesday of each month in the 16th Street Lobby. Patients, visitors, and staff are invited to stop by the visit station between 11:30am and 1:30pm to spend some time de-stressing with a few of PAC’s 75 therapy dogs. Patients and families can be escorted down from their hospital rooms by their care team to meet the PAC Teams, and can feed the dogs treats, watch them perform any tricks they might know, or simply pet and receive the warm companionship of a furry friend. Many visitors stop by on their way into the hospital to take pictures with the therapy dogs as they pose for the camera. UCLA employees are also encouraged to take a break and interact with the therapy dogs before returning to work. As with all PAC visits, hand hygiene and other safety measures are always applied when cominginto contact with the PAC therapy animals. The monthly pet visit stations always attracts a large number of attendees, many even stating that the recurring event is on their calendar!
During the summer of 2018, PAC welcomed the first animal other than a dog to its monthly Pet Visit Stations, Blue Moon the miniature therapy horse. Blue Moon stands at 28-inches tall, and lives in the Malibu Mountains along with her handler Victoria, and eight other mini horse ‘sisters’. At the visit stations, she amazes the crowd with various tricks, such as her dazzling smile, “high-fives”, and standing on her hind legs. All attendees to the Pet Visit Station have the opportunity to stroke Blue Moon’s remarkably soft mane and coat and take pictures with her. Her cheerful disposition and prancing for the camera, as well as love of children and adults alike, attracts visitors of all ages. Safety precautions including hand hygiene are also enforced when visiting with the mini horse. Blue Moon visits the Ronald Reagan Medical Center on the last Thursday of each month, near the fountains at the Garden of Peace.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, PAC teams are unable to visit the UCLA hospitals but continue to offer the benefits of animal assisted therapythrough a virtual setting. The People-Animal Connection hosts biweekly Virtual Visit Stations on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, where PAC members video call with their therapy animals by their side. The PAC teams can share their volunteer experience, show off any fun tricks, or answer questions from anyone calling in. Patients, staff, UCLA students, and many others enjoy watching and interacting with the PAC teams from the comfort of their homes.
PAC Teams Melissa and her husky Izzy with Ellen and her goldendoodle Stanley at the Ronald Reagan Pet Visit Station.
PAC Teams Lynda and her chihuahua Foxy Lady with Debbie and her golden retriever Oliver at the Santa Monica Visit Station.
Blue Moon the mini horse with her handler Victoria, posing with nursing students.
Blue Moon and Victoria having a virtual visit with UCLA Staff member Daniel Wong, and his son.