Pets at Duke

Due to COVID-19 precautions this service is unavailable until further notice.

Short Overview

The Pets at Duke program, offered through the Duke Cancer Patient Support Program, offers many benefits to our patients. Research shows that animal-assisted therapy, or pet therapy, is an effective form of psychotherapy intervention that reduces stress and depression. It also provides a sense of companionship that can combat feelings of isolation. The relaxation and feelings of connection that people feel with an animal -- in this case a dog -- facilitate healing and rehabilitation.

Participating Dogs Are Therapy Certified


Therapy dogs reside with their owner and complete additional testing on-site before being accepted to the Pets at Duke team.

Improving Quality of Life With Grant Help


The Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and PetSmart Charities know that pets have the remarkable ability to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve our mood and bring us unconditional love.  That’s why, with the help of a $25,000 grant from PetSmart Charities, Pets at Duke is aiming to improve quality of life and provide a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine for children while receiving treatment.

With this grant, we will have the ability to expand the existing pet therapy program in pediatrics to provide more visits to hospitalized children and their families. Additionally, we will pilot pet therapy visits in outpatient clinics.  Pets at Duke anticipates serving more than 5,000 patients and their families over the next year.

Pets at Duke Serve the Following Areas


Duke University Hospital

  • Inpatient Adult Oncology
  • Inpatient Pediatric Oncology
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit

Duke Cancer Center

  • Duke Cancer Center Radiation Oncology clinic - 0-0
  • Duke Cancer Center Gynecology/Oncology clinic - 2-2
  • Duke Cancer Center clinics (Brain tumor, GI, Thoracic) - 3-1 and 3-2
  • Duke Cancer Center Oncology treatment rooms

Duke Cancer Center Raleigh

  • Duke Cancer Center Raleigh Infusion  
  • Duke Cancer Center Raleigh Radiation Oncology 

Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh

  • Duke Women’s Cancer Care Raleigh Infusion 

Community setting

  • Hock Inpatient Hospice Facility

Additionally, Pets at Duke visit most areas of the hospital on a referral basis.  These visits are based on handler/dog team availability.