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Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Program

During Your Visit


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. 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

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. Visit to find out more, view photos and register!    

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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