Date of Award


Degree Type

Master's Essay - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)



First Advisor

Richard Fehring

Second Advisor

Ruth M. Stollenwerk


The possible benefits associated with human/animal contact as well as the low cost of operating pet therapy programs have resulted in a significant increase in the utilization of pets in health care institutions in the last several years. Most of these programs have been in longterm health care facilities using visiting non-companion animals. Very recently several acute care hospitals have also developed pet visitation programs for their facilities. This essay reviews the literature and research relative to human/animal bonding and pet therapy. Three companion pet visitations in an acute care setting are described, including the perceptions of the patient, the significant other, and the nurse. Implications for nursing practice and research are identified.