"Paws & Hearts"Animal Assisted Therapy

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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






"Bob" and "Zoso"

Our newest Featured Volunteer is actually Volunteers plural-"Bob" & "Zoso," and their Dad Joe.

For ten years now, these three boys have been a fixture at Desert Regional Medical Center as well as their Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Joe starts out by taking these two amazing Standard Poodles through the three different treatment waiting-rooms at the Cancer Center where they offer a lot of emotional support to the patients who are awaiting treatments and appointments. These guys are just a fixture every week in the Cancer Center.

After that they head over to the hospital and visit floors in the East Tower as well as pediatrics. Over the years we've had many thank-you letters and emails from patients who were made to feel a bit better with the visits.

Joe, "Bob" & "Zoso" we at "Paws & Hearts" are truly thankful for your dedication to volunteering year after year with us. You guys have made thousands of patients feel better at the hospital over the years with your magical visits!

Here's to another 10 years!





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