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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

Paws Can Heal

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. It can reduce stress levels and invoke a sense of well-being. AAT acts as a catalyst to motivate patients to help themselves. A child will happily take a dog for a walk, or throw the animal a ball, forgetting the pain for a little while and moving closer to going home. Among the benefits of animal-assisted therapy are the ways it motivates children to:

  • Get up, move, walk, leave their room and play.
  • Participate in therapy (physical, occupational and speech).
  • Forget their discomfort or pain.
  • 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.

Our volunteer therapy animals and owners are trained and nationally certified. The current therapy animals are pictured here. 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. If you would like to support the Program, there are a couple ways to contribute:

Dine With Your Dog

Dine With Your Dog, presented by PetSmart, is an annual celebration of support for our Animal-Assisted Therapy Program with a Champagne Sunday Brunch. Guests mingle with fellow animal lovers, explore the pet play areas, enjoy a fabulous silent auction and a lovely brunch.

Sending a donation

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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