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Pet Therapy at Hospice
updated: Jul 20, 2013, 10:00 AM

Photo: Diane Hall with Little Star, Jill Kitnick with Lola, Laurel Felice with Erie Smile, Katherine Cookson with McKenzie, and Gary Rees with Remy.

Hospice of Santa Barbara recently hosted a Pet Therapy orientation for current volunteers interested in providing the joy of animal companionship and healing for Hospice of Santa Barbara clients and patients. Therapy animals are trained to allow unfamiliar people to pet them and provide people with a sense of healing and nurture through physical contact.

In order to become certified, the volunteer and the pet must go through a certification process through one of three organizations. For more information, contact Dana Vandermey at (805) 563-8820.

Hospice of Santa Barbara’s mission is to provide care to anyone experiencing the impact of a life-threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.


Hospice of Santa Barbara officially opened its doors in 1974, making it the second oldest hospice program in the United States. Today, Hospice of Santa Barbara is a volunteer hospice organization – a hospice that emphasizes the emotional, social and spiritual care needs of the terminally ill and their families. As a volunteer hospice organization, Hospice of Santa Barbara provides all its services free of charge. Hospice of Santa Barbara does not provide nursing care, but it does work closely with all home health agencies, certified hospice programs and private duty agencies to meet the nursing needs of patients.

In 2001, Gail M. Rink assumed leadership of Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. In 2008, Steve Jacobsen was hired as Executive Director of Hospice of Santa Barbara upon Rink’s retirement, and he continues to lead the organization as it meets its mission to provide care to anyone experiencing the impact of life- threatening illness or grieving the death of a loved one.


Hospice of Santa Barbara, Inc. provides a comprehensive range of services to people diagnosed with terminal illnesses, their loved ones and the greater community. The following is an overview of the services offered at the Hospice of Santa Barbara:

Counseling Free, confidential counseling is provided by Hospice of Santa Barbara to both adults and children who are facing a terminal illness, planning for end-of-life care or grieving the death of a loved one.

Support Groups Hospice of Santa Barbara offers an opportunity for individuals to connect with others who are facing, or have faced, similar situations.

Community Education: Hospice of Santa Barbara’s Community Education programs strive to educate people in end of life and bereavement issues.

I Have A Friend® I Have A Friend® is a unique program that pairs children who have recently lost a parent or sibling with trained adult mentors who experienced a similar loss in their childhood. Mentors help the children understand that not only are they normal, but that their lives can be good again, and that they can be happy and successful people.

Palliative Care: The Palliative Care Consultation Service is a collaborative effort between Hospice of Santa Barbara, Cottage Hospital, and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care. Hospice of Santa Barbara employs two LCSWs and a chaplain, Cottage Hospital employs a physician and provides administrative space for the team, and Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care employs a nurse. Together, they provide pain and symptom management, emotional and spiritual support to patients at Cottage Hospital and to their families.

Care Management: Hospice of Santa Barbara's Care Management team walks with individuals through the decision making process when they have a life-threatening diagnosis or terminal illness. They also advocate for the family and provide information and referral to community services that ensure the best quality of life for the client/family.

Volunteers: Hospice of Santa Barbara volunteers come from all walks of life and from all segments of the community.

For more information about the Hospice of Santa Barbara, please call (805) 563-8820 or visit www.hospiceofsantabarbara.org.


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