Outreach Therapy Pets

The Outreach Therapy Pets programme combines the strengths of SPCA Auckland and St John to bring comfort and joy to residents and patients of rest homes, hospitals and other health services in the Auckland region. Interacting with animals has been shown to reduce stress and fears that come with illness and age. Our more than 250 volunteers and their pets make use of this effect to help improve residents’ and patients’ mental and physical wellbeing.

How we help

Many people will at some point in their life spend time isolated from families and friends in hospitals and nursing homes.

We believe that through the Outreach Therapy Pets programme we can help alleviate the loneliness that might come with being institutionalised, and that regular visits of an animal can make a big difference to people’s physical and emotional health.

All our volunteers receive training to ensure the Outreach Therapy Pets programme is well received, wherever our volunteers go.

What we offer - Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Activities may include visiting aged-care facilities to chat and spend a few minutes with each resident. Among other activities, we have offered animal mornings at rest homes, visited groups who work with youth with disabilities, and given SPCA community presentations with Outreach Pets present.

Animal Assisted Therapy is goal-orientated. The volunteer and their animal work with an occupational therapist or activities co-ordinator to help clients achieve specific goals which are recorded. This can include walking a dog to help recover from leg surgery or brushing an animal to improve range of motion in a client’s arm       

At the moment the majority of visits are completed by dogs but cats are welcome, too.

Find out more about how to get involved

SPCA Guardian

Become an SPCA Guardian and help take action for Auckland's animals in need.

Animal Care

Learn about caring for your pet as well as legal Minimum Standards for care.