COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update Learn More


Dear Friends and Neighbors,

CentraCare care givers have been working around the clock for more than 20 months to care for you, your families and friends during COVID. We are committed to caring for every Minnesotan who needs us, and nothing will prevent us from doing so – even during these never-seen-before times.

The challenge of providing this level of care is that our hospital beds are often full. ERs in all of our hospitals are packed. And our clinical teams are exhausted. Early in the pandemic, our community stepped up in amazing ways to help us. We ask that you again join us in fighting this pandemic together.

How can you help?

  • Please get your COVID vaccines and booster shots. They are proven safe and effective in reducing COVID illness, keeping people out of the hospital, and preventing death.
  • If your situation is not an emergency, please use other care options, including:
  • If this is a medical emergency, call 9-1-1, or visit the ER.

Together, we can do this. Thank you for your support.

Ken Holmen, MD
President and CEO

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Helping Patients Relax & Recover

Animals make you smile — whether you are watching a funny video or see them in person. In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), a Pet Partners registered handler and animal team visit you to help you relax and recover. Visits from animal friends has proven to be a great morale boost and can improve your mental and emotional well being. All of the AAT animals are trained therapy pets.

AAT can help you:

  • Reduce anxiety
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Improve deep breathing
  • Strengthen fine motor skills
  • Manage pain
  • Improve emotional and mental well-being
  • Boost your immune system
  • Succeed in physical therapy

Talk to one of our nurses to request AAT. For safety reasons, the AAT is restricted from visiting patients who are in insolation precautions, infectious disease precautions, have open wounds or if visits are not recommended by the health care team.

How to Volunteer

AAT services are provided by volunteers who have been registered through Pet Partners. We appreciate your desire to support our patients and request that all volunteers commit to a regular weekly schedule.

In order to volunteer as an AAT handler at our hospital, you must:

  • Register with Pet Partners, a national therapy animal organization
  • Have a dog that is at least one year old. The dog must have a calm temperament and be obedient
  • Have your dog up to date on all mandatory vaccinations
  • Complete the CentraCare Volunteer Services onboarding process

Previous experience in a health care setting is preferred but not required. If you have questions, please call Volunteer Services at 320-255-5638.

Our Animal-Assisted Therapy Locations

We have 2 locations offering this service. Enter your zip code to find the location nearest to you.

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See All Our Animal-Assisted Therapy Locations