Therapy Animal Volunteer – St Columba’s Hospice Palliative Care, Edinburgh

Therapy Animal Volunteer

Generally half a day, once a week

Volunteer role


Role description

This role provides a pet visiting service to inpatients, to support their wellbeing.  It involves visiting patients on the wards.

Hospice staff and volunteers are expected to reflect our Hospice Values in the way they carry out their roles, and in their interactions with each other and with patients, family members and any other visitors.

Our Values are: Care and Compassion, Respect, Trust and Partnership.

What will I be doing/involved in?

Examples of some of the activities the Volunteer will be involved in are shown below:

  • Visit patients as agreed with their therapy animal
  • Report to Wards for note of patients to visit/not vist
  • Report back on any patient issues as a result of the visit
  • Help to support the patient’s wellbeing through the delivery of this service

What experience or skills do I need?

  • Understanding of the work and values of St Columba’s Hospice. Willing to keep informed and stay updated about our work
  • Be an embassador of St Columba’s Hospice
  • Follow Infection Control guidelines
  • Must be registered with an appropriate Therapy Animal Service and their pet must be approved by them to take part in this service
  • Excellent communications skills
  • A strong understanding of the need for and importance of patient and client confidentiality and boundaries, at all times
  • Confidence and sensitivity when dealing with difficult information from distressed and anxious patients or relatives
  • Willingness to work as part of the wider Hospice team, and with staff and volunteers as required
  • Willingness to attend group supervision, and continuing professional development updates
  • Experience of working with people with advanced illness is helpful, though not essential

Time commitment and duration

Weekly, fortnightly or standby

Where will I be based?

St Columba's Hospice Care, 15 Boswall Road, Edinburgh

Who will I be volunteering for?

Complementary Therapy Coordinator

Ward Sister

Who else will support me?

Volunteer Services Manager, Volunteer Services team, Hospice staff as needed

Recruitment checks

  • Membership of Canine Concern Scotland Trust and/ or Pets as Therapy UK
  • Interview with Volunteer Services Manager & Complementary Therapy Coordinator
  • Application Form
  • Two references
  • PVG membership (Protected Adults)
  • Volunteers must be 18 years or over


  • Hospice orientation
  • Hospice Volunteer Induction Programme
  • Therapy animal induction
  • Team / role induction and training
  • Team meetings (if/as necessary)

Additional Information

Hospice Chaplains are always available to support volunteers

Volunteers may claim reasonable travelling expenses for transport to and from the Hospice, or the place you volunteer, e.g. one of our retail shops. Please speak to your manager about this.

The Hospice provides complimentary tea and coffee to all volunteers, staff, patients and families as part of the hospitality strategy.

If you volunteer for a full day at the Hospice, you can claim a free meal from the staff café or Iona Café. Please speak to your manager about this.

 You can apply online here

Alternatively, please email us at to request a paper application form, or to ask us any questions about the role

Download a role description


Find out more

Go to our Volunteer page to find out more about volunteering at the Hospice.