Paula's PetPal Place is a service that allows patients to unite with their personal pets during hospitalization at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Part of UCLA's People-Animal Connection Program (PAC) - which facilitates 70 carefully trained, volunteer-owned dogs to the bedside of patients at the hospital - Paula's PetPal Place adds a new dimension to PAC Program services.
Paula's PetPal Place is also an outdoor area next the hospital. Thanks to the generous donation from Paula Kent Meehan, the grassy area outside UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital has been designated as Paula's PetPal Place, where pet visits will take place.
The focus of Paula's PetPal Place program is the personal connection between patients and their pets. For many people, a pet is part of the family. When patients are hospitalized for long periods of time, they miss their pet tremendously. Bringing patients together with their dogs or cats can help their mental and emotional well-being. These visits not only boost patients' spirits, but promote healing.
The goal of the program is to reconnect the bond that is shared with the pet and family, and allow for the healing power of being with our loved ones. Healthcare doesn't get more warm and fuzzy than this!
Requirements to Apply
The program is available to all patients at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center but certain requirements apply, including:
- Patient must have his/her doctor's signed approval in order to participate in the program.
- Patient must have signed approval from a veterinarian of immunization and health of the pet.
- Pet must be at least 12 weeks old.
- Patient must facilitate a family member, or other pet handler, to bring the pet for the visit.
- Visits are limited to 45 minutes.
- Cats and dogs are able to participate.
If you and your pet qualify, please follow the important steps below to arrange a visit with your dog or cat.
Before the visit
- Reach out to the coordinator of Paula's PetPal Place about arranging a visit with your pet.
- The coordinator will help clear the visit with the patient's nurse or attending physician.
- Identify a family member or caregiver who will help coordinate, prepare your pet and accompany your pet during the entire visit.
- Ask your family pet caregiver to take the pet to the veterinarian, who must complete and sign the health certificate.
- Present health certificate to PAC, and arrange a date and time for the visit with the coordinator.
- Pet visits will take place in the designated area, located near the entrance to UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital. (Visits cannot take place inside the hospital.)
The night before the visit
- Please ask your family member or caregiver to bathe and brush the pet within 24 hours of the visit. (Make sure that the pet is free of fleas and ticks.)
- Please ensure the caregiver checks the health of the animal the morning of the visit, so it is clear of diarrhea or other illnesses.
- Ask your caregiver to avoid feeding the pet within 2 hours of the visit.
During the visit
- Ask your caregiver to arrive promptly for the visit, because visits are limited to 45 minutes.
- The caregiver must be present during the entire visit and is responsible for the care of the pet while at UCLA and its safe return home.
- A PAC employee or a volunteer will accompany the patient and family during the visit.
- Please review these other considerations to make your pet visit safe.
- Enjoy your time with your pet!