Animal Assisted Therapies

At Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, certified therapy dogs make rounds to provide a positive focus for patients, their families and staff.

A hospital service dog visiting a patient in their room.

Sometimes it takes more than medicine to meet the needs of the patients who are treated at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. Certified therapy dogs make rounds to provide their own kind of special care. In a hospital setting, the appearance of a dog can certainly change the atmosphere and provide a positive focus for patients, their families and staff alike. For those few minutes that the therapy dog is interacting with the patient, their mind is free of anxiety and stress related to their medical condition. This lightened mood can carry over to the rest of the day.

How the Program Works

  • Pet Owner and Dog complete interview/screening for the program
  • Dogs must be at least one year of age
  • Dogs must be certified through a Pet Therapy Certifying organization such as Pet Partners, Alliance of Therapy Dogs or Intermountain Therapy Dogs.
  • Proof of annual health exams by a licensed veterinarian is required along with a record of current required vaccinations.
  • Owner must be 18 years of age and a member of a cooperating pet therapy organization
  • Owner must apply to become a hospital volunteer and if accepted, attend required orientation programs.
  • Pet Therapy visits are pre-scheduled
  • Pet Therapy visits are made to patients who are both medically able and who express a desire for the visit.
Note: All dogs must have proof of liability insurance. If you are interested in certifying a dog, please see our volunteer requirements and check our open volunteer positions to see if we are currently accepting applications. Occasionally, we remove the application to allow time for registration and training.


How to Get Involved

For more information or to apply to participate in the program, please contact the Child Life Department at [email protected]