Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Volunteers
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. 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 for awhile.
- 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 simply being idle.
Volunteering without a Pet
All prospective volunteers must become a registered In-hospital volunteer. Return to the Volunteer page to register to become an In-hospital volunteer.
Volunteering with a Pet
If you would like to volunteer with your pet, first you become registered as a therapy animal team. Our therapy animal teams are nationally registered and have 3 to 12 months of experience.
Phoenix Children's recognizes four national organizations:
- Pet Partners: www.petpartners.org
- Therapy Dogs International: www.tdi-dog.org
- Alliance of Therapy Dogs, formerly known as Therapy Dogs Inc.: www.therapydogs.com
- Intermountain Therapy Animals: www.therapyanimals.org
An evaluator will test you and your pet. Your pet needs to be calm, predictable, pass basic obedience skills and be comfortable in a variety of settings. Once you have 3 to 12 months experience as a therapy animal team, your next step is to register as an In-hospital volunteer.
NOTE: Whether you are wanting to volunteer with the Animal-Assisted Therapy Program with or without a pet, you must become a registered In-hospital volunteer. Return to the Volunteer page to learn what you need to do to become a registered In-hospital volunteer and to apply.