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Pet World: Visiting nurse makes simple request of dog owners

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

I am a pet lover. I have two kitties and enjoy my sister’s two dogs.

I work as a visiting nurse. Our policy is that when a nurse, social worker, home health aide, or physical or occupational therapist comes to your home, you must put your dog in another room, or have the dog firmly under control with a leash.

We have had a number of nurses bitten on the job. I am one of them. It's an added stressor that is so readily preventable. Many people ask, "Are you afraid of dogs?" It's not about being afraid of dogs, it's about keeping everyone safe. Some dogs feel threatened when a stranger comes in the door and starts touching their owner or draws their blood.

Some people are offended when we ask them to secure their dog. "Why Fifi wouldn't hurt a fly!!" Fifi might feel exceedingly stressed and threatened at my presence though.

Could you talk about dog policies for those who visit homes, and why it’s important for people to simply follow the rules?


–Grace, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Dear Grace,

Whether it’s a visiting nurse or a plumber, a dog, even the best dog in the world, can feel threatened when a new person, who is neither family or friend, enters their territory. If it’s a requirement of the Visiting Nurses Association for dogs to be confined when you enter the home, you are within your rights Grace to not enter the home until the dog is confined. It’s such a simple request, and it’s so easy to secure a dog in a kennel or bedroom during visits.

Dog owners, if you are reading this, please don’t be offended by the request. The Visiting Nurses Association is just trying to ensure the safety of your caretakers. Please return the favor and honor their request.


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