Animal-Assisted Therapy FAQs
What if I don’t have a pet? Can I still volunteer with animal assisted therapy?
Yes, we need volunteers to go with each Paws Can Heal team on their animal assisted therapy 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.
Watch a short video about our AAT escorts!
All prospective volunteers must attend a Volunteer Information Session as the initial step to volunteer.
How can my pet and I be a therapy animal team at Phoenix Children’s Hospital?
First, you and your pet become nationally registered as a therapy animal team. Our Paws Can Heal therapy animal teams are nationally registered and have 6 to 12 months of experience as a therapy animal team in a healthcare setting.
How can my pet and I become a registered animal assisted therapy team?
There are several national organizations that evaluate and register therapy animal teams. The evaluator will test you and your animal. Your pet will need to be calm and predictable, pass basic obedience skills tests, and be comfortable in a variety of settings and environments. Please see our information on therapy animal registration organizations.
www.therapydogs.com (Alliance of Therapy Dogs, formerly known as Therapy Dogs Inc.)
My pet and I are already a registered therapy animal team. How can we become an animal assisted therapy team at Phoenix Children’s?
Congratulations! Now you can volunteer with your pet in a health care 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 health care setting. Once you have six to twelve months experience as a therapy animal team, your next step is to register for and 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.)
What does Phoenix Children’s require for me to be a volunteer?