"Paws & Hearts"Animal Assisted Therapy


Become a Volunteer

Our Canine Ambassadors at Work

Become a Volunteer

Training a dog to be a therapy dog is very much "on the job training." The difference between the first week's visit to a facility and the visits 1 month, 2 months, etc. are totally different.

We are always on the look-out for great therapy dog wanna-be's.

Over the past few months we've seen many dogs in the office that were incredibly cute to look at, but they didn't possess the personality traits to take on the responsibilities of Animal Assisted Therapy.

Being a 'cute' dog to look at, is so not it. The cuteness of the dog really has nothing to do with the dog's personality, nor does breeding. In order for your dog to be considered for this most rewarding type of work, look at your dog and ask yourself these questions:

1) Is my dog comfortable in all situations, i.e. coming into contact with strangers on the street, or walking the isles of Lowe's or Home Depot?

2) Will my dog allow total strangers to come over and say hello? And will my dog greet the person with great interest and curiosty?

3) Does my dog greet visitors in my home with eagerness and affection? Does my dog want to be the center of attention and make guests happy that they've come over to visit?

At "Paws & Hearts" Animal Assisted Therapy we love temperament testing potential Canine Ambassadors and coming up with winners. Consider what will be required of your dog by reviewing our website, and watch the videos of a hospital visit and a temperament test. If you think your pooch has what it takes, we really want to hear from you!

Please watch this training video if you are interested in becoming a volunteer.

Click Here
to watch our training video

Now that you have read through this information, seen the video, and understand what it is we are looking for in a potential Canine Ambassador, please give our office a call at (760) 836-1406 to have your first informal interview. If the phone interview goes well, you will be invited to complete the formal Volunteer Application.

Please keep in mind that we are located in a seasonal area. The desert is home to many "winter snow-birds." We only accept full-time desert dwellers who are able to make an initial commitment of one-year, visiting their assigned facility each and every week.

Richard and his mascot dog, Maddie, look forward to hearing from you!

Richard, Scruffy and Maddie

After your initial phone interview

Click Here

to download our Volunteer Application


One of the newest Canine Ambassadors has been the Wednesday morning therapy dog at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional. Bailey and his mom Joanne cover the three floors of waiting rooms for 2-hours each week.

In Joanne's own words here is her story that accompanies the featured photographs--

Today must have been picture day at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Desert Regional Medical Center!

We had three great photo opportunities:

Bailey first found one of his most favorite folks, a patient in her wheelchair who had seen Bailey in prior weeks and today she was thrilled to have her picture taken with him. She also had her daughter take additional pictures so that she could make one her home page!

Next, Bailey found a young girl on the second-floor where the chemo treatments are given...he did all of his tricks for her, including his very quiet "hospital speak"... she was delighted and so was he, as you can see by the picture!

Finally, the young hospital volunteers all asked if they could pet Bailey. Needless to say, Bailey loved being the center of their attention and I think he appreciates the fact that they are volunteers, just like him!


Bailey makes a big difference to the clients and patients who visit the Cancer Center on Wednesday's. His spirit and his affectionate ways really make a huge difference to each and every person he visits with! Thank your both for volunteering with us "Bailey" and Joanne.

We have had and continue to have some of the greatest volunteers who make all the difference at "Paws & Hearts" and in the lives of the people we visit.

Click on the link below.

Some of our past "Volunteers Of The Month"

Visit our Canine Ambassadors at work page to see
our Canine Ambassadors working out in the field.

Click the link below.

Our Canine Ambassadors at work.

"Paws & Hearts" Animal Assisted Therapy founders Richard, "Lucky" and "Scruffy" Waxman. Since "Lucky" and "Scruffy's" passing, "Maddie" has become the face of the organization and the reigning mascot! She was trained by the best, "Scruffy!"


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"Paws & Hearts" Animal Assisted Therapy
74-133 El Paseo, Suite 7, Palm Desert, CA 92260
Phone (760) 836-1406
Fax (760) 836-1426