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COVID-19 Advisory: Visitor restrictions are in place for all Phoenix Children’s locations. Masks are required for all visitors and for patients ages 2+. For more information, visit our COVID-19 Resource Center.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program

Support Programs

We provide an Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program to patients and their families for therapeutic purposes. Scientific research has shown a patient's interaction with an animal can provide positive physical and emotional benefits, helping them to:

  • Get up, move, walk, leave their room and play
  • Participate in therapy (physical, occupational and speech)
  • Forget their discomfort or pain for a while
  • Interact more with others
  • Improve their mood
  • Improve their interactions with family and staff
  • Do things that may be a struggle, such as eating, taking medication or waiting

The AAT Program includes both volunteer therapy animal teams and full-time employed facility dog teams. Our volunteer teams visit patients, families, and staff at events and at the bedside, improving their mood and helping them through tough days. Current therapy animals are pictured here.

Our facility dog teams work with staff to help patients meet treatment goals from physical therapy sessions to preparing for an upcoming surgery or procedure. The facility dogs live and work with their handlers and are specially trained to work full-time in the hospital setting. Lisa is a Rehabilitation Facility Dog Handler, and she works with Checkers. Rachel is a Child Life Specialist Facility Dog Handler, and she works with Gertie.

Patient bedside visits are requested by the patient's doctors, nurses, occupational and physical therapists or child life specialists. We work with the patient's care team to create a session that works toward the patient's treatment goals.

For more information about animal-assisted therapy for your child's stay at the Hospital, please email the program coordinator, Mary Lou Jennings, or call 602-933-2136.  For information on how to become involved in the program as a volunteer, check out our Animal-Assisted Therapy volunteer page

Phoenix Children's on Good Morning America

Your Donations Count

Our Animal-Assisted Therapy Program is completely funded by the proceeds from special events and donations from individuals, foundations and corporations. 

Sending a donation - by mail or online

You can send a tax-deductible check to: 
Phoenix Children's Foundation
Attn: Animal Assisted Therapy Program
2929 E. Camelback Road, Suite 122
Phoenix, AZ 85016
- or -
Visit our online donation page  

Thank you for your support!

 

 

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