Canine CARE therapy dogs return to UC Davis Medical Center

Jade, Jimmy and Phil wag their way into patients’ hearts and souls


Therapy dogs for adults are returning to UC Davis Medical Center for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

The volunteer pet therapy program has been on hold for three years but now the CARE Project at UC Davis Health is thrilled to announce the creation of the Canine CARE Program.

Jade, Jimmy and Phil are the three new furry, four-legged volunteers who will serve as the Canine CARE therapy dogs. The program provides dog visits to adults at the bedside, helping patients cope with their hospitalization and providing motivation to engage in treatment.

Canine CARE is comprised of Pets Helping Us Recover (PHUR) and Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) volunteer dogs and handlers. All have been screened by Volunteer Services and evaluated to be in the hospital setting.

“Being with animals can help reduce stress and bring back fond memories for many people,” explained Katie Lorain, creative arts and recreation therapy manager of The CARE Project at UC Davis Health. “We are excited to offer our adult patients this comfort and support.”

Two tan-colored dogs with one black dog
From left to right: Jade, Jimmy and Phil

Meet Jimmy, Jade and Phil

Jimmy, an 8-year-old golden retriever, became certified by CCI as a therapy dog in 2022. His handler, Kirstin, has been raising service dogs and volunteering with animal-assisted therapy programs since 2002.

Jade, a 7-year-old black lab, is a retired female breeder for CCI. Her handler, Mary, has provided pet therapy for 15 years in a variety of settings from law enforcement to schools and hospitals.

Phil is a 7-year-old golden retriever and lab mix. His handler, Rachel, started as a PHUR volunteer in 1994. Her goal with each visit is to give UC Davis staff and patients a different kind of day by interacting with Phil.

“I have seen dogs wag their way into many hearts and souls over the years and this is why I continue to volunteer,” Rachel shared.

To donate to The CARE Project program, visit The CARE Project online giving page. To sign up as a volunteer for The CARE Project, please contact Katie Lorain at