Support Services

Animal Assisted Therapy

Pet Therapy

Phoenix Children's Hospital's provides an Animal-Assisted Therapy Program to patients and their families for therapeutic purposes.

Scientific research has shown that 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.

Animal-assisted therapy 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 specific 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. Group events and individual bedside visits are requested by the patient's doctors, nurses, occupational and physical therapists or child life specialists. The program coordinator creates a session with the patient and the team that works toward the patient's treatment goals.

For more information about animal-assisted therapy for your stay at the Hospital, please e-mail the program coordinator, Mary Lou Jennings, or call 602-933-2136.

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