Therapy dogs are used most commonly in kindergartens and schools, psychiatric hospitals and, occasionally, prisons and other correctional facilities. In Germany, at least, they are being used so far in only a handful of hospitals, and Paul is the first in the Hildesheim region.
Bringing animals into hospitals is generally prohibited for reasons of hygiene, and allowing a therapy dog inside the Helios Hospital Hildesheim is an absolute exception made only under very clear hygienic guidelines and with very strict limitations. This means Paul is allowed to use only a few corridors and stairways, which are cleaned immediately after he passes.
Paul must also undergo veterinary testing and be regularly inoculated, dewormed, bathed and brushed. Before and after each human contact with him, hands and surfaces are disinfected – for the safety of both the patients and their much-loved canine friend.