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Animal-Assisted Therapy

Ways to Help

Volunteering without a Pet

Whether or not you have a pet, you can still volunteer as part of our Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program! We need volunteers to go with each Paws Can Heal team on their AAT visits. The volunteer escorts are a critical part of the Paws Can Heal Program. We look for volunteers with experience in a hospital, with children and animals. They help keep our patients safe, gather data on all our visits and help our teams help patients meet their treatment goals.

All prospective volunteers must attend a Volunteer Information Session as the initial step to volunteer.

Volunteering with a Pet

If you would like to volunteer with your pet, first you must both become nationally registered as a therapy animal team. Our Paws Can Heal therapy animal teams are nationally registered and have 6-12 months of experience as a therapy animal team in a healthcare setting.

There are several national organizations that evaluate and register therapy animal teams. The evaluator will test you and your pet. Your pet needs to be calm and predictable, pass basic obedience skills tests and be comfortable in a variety of settings and environments. Phoenix Children's recognizes the following national organizations that are accredited to evaluate you and your pet:  (Therapy Dogs International) (Allliance of Therapy Dogs, formerly known as Therapy Dogs Inc.)

Once you are registered with one of the above organizations, you can volunteer with your pet in a healthcare setting to gather the experience required for a Paws Can Heal team. We look for volunteers who have a passion for volunteering, especially with children, and have work experience or volunteer experience in a healthcare setting. Once you have 6-12 months experience as a therapy animal team, your next step is to attend a Volunteer Information Session at the Hospital or online. All those interested in volunteering at Phoenix Children’s attend this one-hour session first. (No pets at this session.)

We look forward to having you join our program!


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