Pets Assisting with Healing (PAWH) volunteer program

Want to brighten the days of Children’s Minnesota patients along with your animal? Become a Pets Assisting With Healing (PAWH) volunteer. Handler and animal teams (dogs, guinea pigs, and rabbits) in the PAWH program visit patients and families throughout the hospital. The most common areas that receive animal visits are inpatient units, surgery areas, and select outpatient clinics. Animal visits are social in nature and offer patients and families the benefits of human to animal interactions.

We offer flexible shifts and are glad to work with your schedule. Typically, volunteer shifts are once a week for 2 hours (depending on need and animal’s stamina).

Campuses we offer the PAWH service: Minneapolis and St. Paul

Requirements to volunteer

To participate in the PAWH program, volunteers need to:

  • Register through Pet Partners. Obedience training is highly recommended.
  • Complete a Children’s Minnesota volunteer application and submit required immunizations.
  • Attend a one-on-one interview with a Children’s Minnesota volunteer coordinator and your animal.
  • Complete volunteer orientation materials (provided after interview).
  • Attend program-specific, two-part training with an experienced volunteer:
    – Part 1 – The new volunteer shadows an experienced volunteer and their animal.
    – Part 2 – The new volunteer and their animal work under supervision of the experienced volunteer.
  • Commit to 1 year in the program (a weekly 2-hour shift).

Support from our associations

Children’s Minnesota is grateful for the generous support that the Children’s Hospital Association (CHA) and Children’s Association – Minneapolis have given to the PAWH program. Whether volunteering their time to create custom scarves for each pet volunteer, donating funds to support the program or becoming certified PAWH volunteers themselves, these amazing groups help make pet therapy available for every child during their visit to Children’s Minnesota.


This program provided in part by a grant from PetSmart Charities.