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Animal Visit and Therapy Volunteer Program

Animal therapy volunteer with canine assistant

Are you and your pet canine registered as a therapy dog team? Children’s National is looking for dedicated volunteers and their canine companions to help expand our Animal Visit and Therapy Program! With your help, patients will be able to have positive interactions with your dog, making their hospital stay less stressful and more like home.

Responsibilities

Our Animal Visit and Therapy Program is an integral part of the patient experience. Our canine friends have an immeasurable impact on our patients, providing emotional support and easing their anxieties, increasing confidence and providing motivation to recover. 

Pet Visitation Teams will engage patients in unit playrooms, provide therapeutic bedside visits and allow for educational opportunities in our Costco Wholesale Atrium. Teams can show off their commands or they can relax, cuddle and just spend time in someone’s lap. Alternative activities like StoryTails in our library or broadcasting a Q & A session at Seacrest Studios are also great possibilities for the right team! In addition, health and safety is a primary concern, and human handlers are expected to speak up for their canine counterparts. Creating a therapeutic, fun and relaxing environment for everyone (canines included!) is priority number one! 

Program Requirements

  • Pet Visitation Teams are required to have therapy team certification and hold active membership within a recognized therapy dog organization
  • Obedience certification through AKC’s Canine Good Citizen
  • Dogs providing visitation are to be over the age of two
  • Dogs need to be vaccinated against rabies, distemper, Bordetella and a combination of DHLPP (as recommended by their veterinarian)
  • Dogs need to be comfortable around children, enjoy being touched and maintain calm and predictable behaviors in highly active environments
  • Pet Visitation Teams are required to provide a minimum of one visit per month. Priority will be given to Pet Visitation Teams who are available weekly, during a set day and time

Additional Expectations 

Our Pet Visitation Teams represent Children’s National, and we hold high expectations for our volunteers to ensure that our patients and families have the best possible hospital experience. As a Pet Visitation Team, you will be expected to: 

  • Comply with all medical and background check requirements 
  • Attend all required orientations, trainings and hospital tours 
  • Learn and exercise hospital safety and behavior conduct guidelines 
  • Protect patient identity and privacy 
  • Dress appropriately and according to hospital guidelines 
  • Engage in age-appropriate play and interactions with patients 
  • Work with patients of all ages, backgrounds and developmental abilities 
  • Be a source of information about the hospital for patients and their families 
  • Be a source of fun and comfort for patients and their families 

How to Apply

If you and your pet would like to apply to be a Pet Visitation Team, please fill out our form.

If you have any questions about this program, please contact us.

Gift Amount: