Therapy Dog Visits

Therapy dogs must be licensed through a recognized certification program and handlers must adhere to the program’s rules and regulations. All handlers must also adhere to the following:

Prior to your visit

  • Every visit must be confirmed with the volunteer coordinator. Please contact Sabrina Hoyos, shoyos@wm.edu, 757-221-7872.
  • All visits will be scheduled during midterms (the week before spring/fall break) and finals only. 
  • Swem Library must have a signed copy of the policy, a copy of your dog’s therapy certification, certificate of insurance, vaccination record, and an emergency contact and photo release form on file. Records must be updated annually.
  • Participating dogs must be clean and well groomed. If your dog sheds, please bring a blanket for your dog to lie on during the visit.
  • Dogs must be spayed or neutered, and have up-to-date vaccinations.
  • Dogs can be walked outside of the library prior to the start of the session and owners must properly dispose of waste.

During your visit

  • Handlers must display their current membership/ID cards around their necks and dogs must wear an official identification tag.
  • Handlers must have written proof of their dog’s vaccinations readily available at each visit.
  • All visits will be restricted to the lobby next to the main entrance. Allow patrons to approach you at this location.
  • The session may be ended early if the dog becomes unruly or disruptive. If improper behavior happens repeatedly, the handler may be told not to bring the animal back until significant steps have been taken to eliminate the behavior. Handlers with animals that are unclean or noisy may be asked to leave the library.
  • Swem reserves the right to end the session for any reason.

Safety precautions

  • Handlers must never leave their dog alone with staff or patrons. Dogs must be kept on a 4 foot or shorter leash held only by the handler.
  • Handlers may only serve with one animal at time.
  • If an incident or injury occurs, immediately contact the Circulation Desk. In case of a severe injury, Circulation will call 911 and will document the incident on all required forms.If the incident is a suspected bite, isolate the animal immediately, report the incident, and end the visit.