Volunteer FAQs

General questions we often hear about volunteering

Do I need to be a certain age to be a Roxy Volunteer?

We have volunteers of all ages. Kids can volunteer as young as 13 but need to be accompanied by an adult until they are 18.

Does my dog need to be a certain breed to be a therapy dog?

Nope! We have dogs of all breeds in Roxy! As long as your dog has a calm temperament and enjoys being around kids, then he/she is a good candidate for being a therapy dog.

Do I have to have a dog to volunteer?

Absolutely not! We have a very special group of volunteers called “Team Roxy” and they help at events and with special projects. The more, the merrier!

Is there a minimum number of hours required to be a Roxy volunteer?

Not at all. You can volunteer for as many or as few hours as your schedule allows.

Is there an age limit for dogs to become Roxy dogs?

No way! We have dogs of all ages. Dogs do need to be at least 1 year old though before becoming a Roxy Therapy Dog.

Do I have to be available during the day?

In a word? No. We have kids in the hospital and in group homes where you can visit on nights and weekends.


Program-Specific FAQs

Elementary School Reading Inspiration Volunteer FAQs

How do I begin with the school program?
Once you have met with the Welcome Team and have all of your clearances, contact the Director of Schools, Phyllls Mikolaj, and she will work to place you with a class. We will look to match you with the appropriate class based on a discussion with you on type of class, location, etc. 

How often do I visit with a class?
The frequency of visits will be something that the team and teacher work together to finalize. Visits can be weekly, bi-weekly and even monthly depending on the need. 

What if there is a child that is allergic?  
The teacher will be alerted of that based on our Parent Authorization Form. If a student in the class has an allergy to the dog, the teacher will determine if the student remains in the class during the team visit based on guidance from the parent.  

Can I help a child if they are having difficulty reading?  
You should always work with your teacher and take their guidance on how to proceed.  

Can I be in the school program and also do other programs Roxy Therapy Dogs support?  
A team can volunteer in any of Programs that are supported by Roxy Therapy Dogs. In addition, there are numerous volunteer opportunities throughout the year.  

What is the orientation process to begin supporting a class?  
The handler will visit a class with an experienced team for their first visit. The second visit will be with the new team and the experienced handler in the experienced handler's class. Then after two successful class visits, the new team will visit their new class with the experienced handler joining for that first visit.  

Can we participate in extra activities with the class e.g. Halloween Parade, class party, etc.?  
Yes, if you are invited by the teacher, you can participate and your dog should be within your control at all times.  

What if a student is afraid of my dog?  
As a therapy dog handler, you will need to work with the teacher and student who has a fear. Most times, taking it slow and allowing the student to make progress at their own pace and comfort level is most successful. Often, the dogs do the work and have a unique sense of a child’s comfort. 

What is the process when we get to the school?  
When a Roxy Therapy Dog team arrive at a school, they go through the sign-in and clearance process. Then an escort is called to walk the team to their class. Once in the class, the team will usually read with the children in a designed area of the classroom. 

Should there be a proactive confirmation with the teacher before each visit?  
A good practice is to email the teacher before each visit to confirm the visit and ensure there are no changes that week. 

Courthouse Companionship Volunteer FAQs

Where should I park?
Free parking is offered at the Bucks County Parking Garage, located on Union St and N. Broad St.

What do I do if the Roxy Puppy bin is low/empty?
 Notify Mary Ellen, Judge Mellon’s tipstaff, or email the Director.

Can I let a child walk my dog?
 Yes, however, you must also hold the leash and have complete control.

Can I take photos?
No, photos are not permitted.

What do I do in case of inclement weather?
Refer to the Bucks County Courthouse website, there will be a banner at the top with information on delayed opening or closure.  However, use your best judgement, if you are not comfortable driving, don’t.

When does the schedule come out?
The 1st and/or the 15th of each month, depending on the court's schedule.  Teams are advised to check their email on the 1st of the month: if another schedule is coming out on the 15th it will be noted there.

If I must cancel, can I get my own sub?
No, please email Amy Rose, and she will find a sub. 

I have a friend who has a therapy dog and is interested in our program.  Can they shadow me? Who should I direct them to for more info?
For liability purposes, people cannot accompany our teams on visits.  For more information, contact the Director.

How will I know if I am going to accompany a child into the courtroom?
One of the judges' tipstaff will let you know if you and your dog are going to accompany a child into the courtroom.  They also escort you into the courtroom and direct you.  Mary Ellen is Judge Mellon's tipstaff.   

Pediatric Comfort at Doylestown Health Volunteer FAQs

Where do Roxy Teams volunteer at Doylestown Hospital?

Roxy Therapy Dogs is the exclusive pet therapy partner of the Carol and Louis Della Penna Pediatric Center of Doylestown Hospital.

Pet therapy teams also volunteer in Doylestown Hospital’s Cancer Institute and enjoy spending time with children who are in the hospital to visit a family member or friendin the Cardiac, Orthopedic, and medical/surgical units, and in waiting rooms.

Are there special requirements to see patients in the Doylestown Hospital Pediatrics Unit?

In addition to being a registered therapy team, Doylestown Hospital volunteers who visit the pediatrics unit must be members of Roxy Therapy Dogs. 

All Pediatrics volunteers must have child safety clearance, be trained for pediatrics visits, and be accompanied by another Doylestown Hospital volunteer escort or employee.

Therapy teams visit only if there is consent form for an Animal Assisted Activity visit and no contraindication for an interaction with a therapy dog.

Which therapy organizations does Doylestown Hospital recognize?

Doylestown Hospital welcomes animals and handlers registered with any one of the following organizations:

Alliance of Therapy Dogs(formerly Therapy Dogs, Inc.)

Bright and Beautiful

Comfort Caring Canines

Pet Partners(formerly Delta Society)

Therapy Dogs International

Note that Roxy Therapy Dogs does not recognize Therapy Dogs International and that Bright and Beautiful requires escorts to accompany therapy dog teams during all visits.

What kinds of animals or breeds can serve at Doylestown Hospital?

Doylestown Hospital welcomes therapy dog teams registered with Bright and Beautiful, Caring Comfort Canines, Pet Partners (formerly Delta Society), Therapy Dogs Inc., and Therapy Dogs International.

Dogs who thrive in a hospital are calm, confident, obedient, and have a very effective partnership with their human/handler. These special therapy dogs perform predictably and with composure

in a hospital environment with fascinating aromas, surprising sounds like beeps and air locks, unusual vehicles like rolling food carts and gurneys.Hospital therapy dogs are gentle and open whether or not the people they encounter are exuberant or blue, and remain steady whether they are touched with gentle hands or with limited fine motor control.

Can I observe a pet therapy team in action at Doylestown Hospital?

Yes! Anyone interested in joining our team may schedule a shadow visit to see an experienced therapy team in action at Doylestown Hospital and to ask questions. To schedule a shadow visit, call the Volunteer Services Office at 215-345-2204.

What is the process to become part of the animal team at Doylestown Hospital?

The first step is to become a Doylestown Hospital volunteer.  Call the Volunteer Services office at 215-345-2204 for an application. Because we are an accredited hospital with high safety standards, Doylestown Hospital requires all volunteers be cleared for security, to be tested for TB, to have a timely flu shot, and to participate in our hospital orientation process.

Animal team volunteers must provide proof of pet therapy certification and insurance by their therapy organization, up-to-date veterinary records that include rabies protection, up-to-date annual shots (or titer results) and negative fecal, along with a copy of a state dog license. Each registered animal team must participate in an Animal Team briefing session and hospital tour as well as a minimum of three supervised visits with an experienced mentor. Teams new to pet therapy often benefit from additional mentoring.

The mission of our animal program is to deliver joy, so during the mentoring process a key goal is to determine how the therapy dog team responds to the smells, sounds, activity level, and volume and nature of interactions in a hospital setting.Every therapy team should volunteer in a setting that is motivating and comfortable, and a real match for both therapy dog and handler.

During which time slots can animal teams come to Doylestown Hospital?

Hours are flexible.  It’s possible to volunteer with your therapy dog at Doylestown Hospital during the weekdays, weekday evenings, or on weekends. Volunteers have a set visiting schedule and come during times when patients tend not to be having meals or may be sleeping. Pediatrics Unit visits with a therapy dog can be scheduled between 10am and noon, afternoons between 2pm and 4pm, and evenings between 6pm and 8pm.

There are not always children cleared for a pet therapy visit on the pediatrics unit, so our pet therapy teams volunteer in other hospital units in addition.It’s common to encounter children in the hospital who are visiting family and friends.

What time commitment is required?

We encourage our animal team volunteers to make at least two visits per month. We understand if only one visit per month is possible and are delighted when teams can visit frequently. Keep in mind that pets must be groomed prior to every visit when considering visit frequency. Every visit’s length must reflect how long your animal is happy and comfortable visiting on that particular day.  Typically, an animal visit lasts approximately one hour.

What sort of training does Doylestown Hospital provide?

Teams prepare for and earn their therapy dog registration prior to joining the Animal Assisted Activity Program at Doylestown Hospital.(See list above.) All hospital volunteers receive a thorough orientation that reviews Doylestown Hospital’s key practices and policies.

Animal Assisted Activity volunteers receive a personalized briefing session that provides an opportunity to explain and discuss the how-to manual available on dh.org as well as to address questions. Experienced hospital pet therapy handlers accompany teams on their initial visits and mentor each new therapy team. Handlers get feedback during and following their mentored visits. If a team is challenged by a behavior needed to function safely in a hospital (such loose-leash heeling/no pulling or no-licking), mentors provide suggestions on how to address the behavior.It’s the responsibility of the handler to train the therapy dog.

Doylestown Hospital’s Animal Assisted Activity team is invited to team meetings twice a year that take place at Doylestown Hospital that include expert speakers. Topics at team meetings have included What the Dog’s Nose Knows, Canine Body Language, Reading Human Body Language, and Zoonosis.

How can I get more information about animal teams at Doylestown Hospital?

Call the Volunteer Services Office at 215-345-2204 or visit our website.

Pediatric Comfort at Pedia Manor Volunteer FAQs

Do I have to do a certain number of hours per month?
Pedia Manor works with your schedule, you can come once a week, or once a month.  They just ask that you be consistent with your days.

What if my schedule does not allow a visit during the week (Monday-Friday)?
Pedia Manor has volunteers who visit only on weekends.  They are very flexible with schedules.

Will I need to visit all 5 houses?
You can do as many or as few houses that fit your schedule.

How many children live at the houses?  Do they get to go home at all?
All of the children at PM live at the houses.  Some of the children have parents and siblings who visit regularly.  We have seen some children go home.  That is always the hope, that the children can live independently with their families.  

How old are the children at Pedia Manor?
The children vary in age, from infancy to 21.  Different houses are designed for different age groups of children.  You will often see some of the children move from one house to another to live.  

How often do their parents visit?
Depending on your visit, you may come across a family visiting their child.  They are more than happy to interact with the dog.  Visits vary as many families have other children to look after.  

Are the staff helpful with visits?
We have a wonderful relationship with the staff at all the houses.  They are their to help you with anything you may need to make the visit go smoothly.  All you need to do is ask them to help position the child so that they can get the best possible experience from the visit.  

Do the children go to school?
Some of the children are mainstreamed into CB school district.  Others have teachers come to PM to teach.  

Will my dog be okay with all the machine noise and wires that are attached to the children?
We always ask our potential new teams to have a meet and greet with PM's child life specialist.  It is beneficial for all that the dog remains calm and unafraid.  The meet and greet lets everyone see how the dog relates to the children and if they would be a good volunteer fit.