Pets on Wheels is a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization, which provides friendly visits from volunteers and their pets to those requiring the support of an institutional setting. Pets on Wheels was founded in May 1982 by retired allergist and Sinai Hospital physician Dr. Frank Folke Furstenberg. Visits are most often to nursing homes; however assisted living communities and facilities for the physically and mentally challenged are also recipients of our visits. Recently veterans hospitals, libraries, facilities for physically and mentally challenged, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, facilities for children at risk of home out placement, incarcerational settings, substance abuse facilities, teen diversion programs, special education programs, and stress free zones at colleges during exam times have also been added to our visits. Our emphasis is on residents who have been unresponsive to ongoing activities. Many of these patients have impaired cognitive abilities due to specific illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease and react to animals with more awareness than to people around them. For instance, repetitive speech behavior or annoying mannerism may cease while a patient is petting an animal. Pets love unconditionally even when a person is no longer attractive, even-tempered, or agile. Their warmth makes a difference to those they visit. Pets on Wheels welcomes volunteers and any friendly species of animals to take our temperament test. Pets on Wheels currently has over 400 volunteers visiting over 250 different facilities across Maryland.

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