Pets Assisting With Healing (PAWH) Volunteer Programs

Want to brighten the days of Children's patients, along with your pet? Become a PAWH volunteer! Pets in the PAWH program help patients with development and rehabilitation and brighten their stay in the hospital.

Video: PAWH volunteers and therapy dogs in action!
Family adopts its own therapy dog after success at Children’s (Fox 9)
Pet therapy dogs bring normalcy and comfort to an otherwise sterile environment (CBS Early Show)


1. Pet Partners Certification (formerly known as Delta Society)

a. www.petpartners.org

b. PAWH volunteers are expected to follow Pet Partner guidelines and policies when volunteering at Children’s.

c. For a list of local agencies that may offer Pet Partner certifiers, visit www.mntherapyanimals.com

a. Sit down one-on-one with a Children’s volunteer coordinator

4. General Volunteer Orientation

a. All volunteers must attend a mandatory 2.5-hour orientation

b. Orientations are typically offered one to two times per month at Children’s Minneapolis and Children’s St. Paul campuses

5. Program-specific training with an experienced volunteer

a. This is a 2-part training: 1) New volunteer shadows experienced volunteer and their dog, 2) New volunteer and their dog work under supervision of experienced volunteer

PAWH Programs

1. Child Life

a. Handlers and their dogs are invited to visit patients and their families throughout the hospital. Main areas that receive dog visits are medical-surgical inpatient floors, surgery areas, selected waiting rooms, and specialty units.

b. Volunteer shifts are 2 hours weekly (depending on need and dog’s stamina)

c. Dog visits are needed from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

d. Campuses: St. Paul and Minneapolis

2. Development and Rehabilitation (Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy/Speech Therapy)

a. Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapists request dogs to participate in a children’s therapy sessions. Dogs are used for motivation, sensory stimulation, balance, range of motion, etc.

b. Volunteer shifts are variable. Most of the time, appointments are one hour per week on an ongoing basis; other appointments are one-time requests. Volunteers can opt to take on multiple requests (two per week, two per day, etc.)

c. Rehab requests are Monday through Friday during business hours (8 a.m.-5 p.m.)

d. Campuses: St. Paul, Minneapolis, Roseville, Woodbury, Maple Grove and Minnetonka


We ask our PAWH volunteers to stay with us for one year.