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The Center for Human-Animal Interaction

Becoming a Dogs On Call Team

 Thank you for your interest in the Dogs On Call Program coordinated by the Center for Human-Animal Interaction in collaboration with VCU Medical Center Volunteer Services.

Dogs On Call is the therapy dog program of The Center For Human-Animal Interaction at the VCU Medical Center. Our Dogs On Call teams provide animal-assisted interventions in most areas of The VCU Medical Center. We welcome new volunteers. We are a model, evidence-based program with a long history of supporting traditional care at VCU Medical Center. Our requirements are designed to maximize safety and enjoyment for patients, families, staff, dogs and volunteers.

Requirements for Dogs On Call (DOC) Teams:

Volunteers interested in joining Dogs on Call with their dogs must complete all requirements and comply with the VCU Medical Center DOC policies and procedures. To become a Dogs On Call team, individuals must satisfy dog requirements, human requirements, and team observations. You must also be 18 years or older to participate and your dog must be at least 1 year old.  

Dog Requirements:

All Dogs On Call dogs must be registered through either


Registration with either of these organizations requires basic obedience skills and appropriate temperament. We can recommend resources for training and evaluating your dog for participating in Dogs On Call. If you would like help or advice on dog obedience training and/or preparing for evaluations, please contact us at

Human Requirements:

Individuals who wish to volunteer must complete the adult volunteer process for VCU Medical Center. Apply here to become a VCU Health volunteer which will redirect you to the VCU Health Volunteer Services Application. For more information please contact the Volunteer Office at (804) 828-0922.

Team Shadowing:

Upon completion of the dog and human requirements for Dogs On Call, at least two shadowings will take place with a senior DOC team at VCU Medical Center: at least one without your dog (handler only), and at least one with your dog (full team). Of note, you cannot bring your dog onto VCU Health premises until the second shadowing phase. These shadowings are an opportunity to familiarize you with the policies, procedures, and experience of navigating the VCU Medical Center. We want you and your dog to feel comfortable in our environment. 


If you have questions about the policies and procedures for becoming a Dogs On Call team please contact Teams Coordinator, J.T. Hosack, at

Dogs On Call teams are valued members of an elite group of volunteers at VCU Health and your time and efforts to complete this process are greatly appreciated.


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