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Doggie Brigade

As a result of the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the community,  we are temporarily suspending volunteer applications.  Please stay safe and healthy, and we look forward to seeing you once the COVID-19 threat passes.

Since 1992, the Doggie Brigade™ has brought joy, comfort and wagging tails to patients at Akron Children's Hospital. These four-legged volunteers tour the hallways, visit patients in their rooms and stop in the activity rooms to see children who would like a visit. 

Patients often report that for the duration of their 5-10 minute visit, they forget about their illness or pain and feel like a kid.  

Meet Our Doggie Brigade

Does your dog have what it takes to become a Doggie Brigade member?  

Handler Requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Must commit to 26 hospital visits and 2 hospital-sponsored community events each year
  • Complete the hospital volunteer process (interview, criminal background check, immunization review, tuberculosis screening, canine behavior evaluation, annual flu shot and training)
  • Adhere to all requirements and guidelines of the Akron Children's Hospital Doggie Brigade program, including regular bathing/grooming of your dog
  • Have the ability to work in a busy, complex hospital environment, be team-oriented, be familiar with dog body language and able to advocate for their dog's needs
  • Registered with a hospital-approved therapy dog organization (see therapy dog links for more information)

Therapy Dog Organizations

Dog Applicant Requirements

  • At least one year of age or older
  • In good physical health and up to date on required vaccinations
  • Complete and annual fecal, heartworm and physical veterinary exam
  • Enjoy and seek out interactions and
    • interact politely with unfamiliar people
    • reliably respond to basic cues (sit, down, come, stay, leave it)
    • be comfortable in new environments

Sign Up

If your dog meets the above requirements and you are interested in joining the Doggie Brigade, review the Doggie Brigade Information slides and complete a Doggie Brigade application.  Dog/handler teams are chosen based on program needs.  As volunteer opportunities become available, Volunteer Services staff will contact eligible teams to begin the screening process.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Volunteer Services at 330-543-8424 or volunteers@akronchildrens.org.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact Volunteer Services at 330-543-8424 or volunteers@akronchildrens.org