Animal Companion Therapy

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Animal Samaritans believes in the healing power of animal-human connections.  People have recognized this capacity for millenia.  It’s part of the reason why our relationships with our animal friends are so meaningful to us.  They are bonds as strong as family, and at Animal Samaritans, we honor them as such.

Because of this, AnSams created healing curricula that offer animal companionship as a form of treatment. These animal-assisted interventions are endorsed by human healthcare providers as cost-effective interventions for specific patient populations in these various facilities. 

We bring specially trained animals to hospitals, group homes, correctional facilities, to senior homes and more. It’s some of our most important work. 

For more information on ACT please click here or email


About Animal Companion Therapy at Animal Samaritans

Volunteers and their companion animals visit the residents and patients of a variety of facilities, offering touching, petting, playing with and experiencing the unconditional affection of a pet.

Click here for more info about joining ACT!

Benefits of Animal Companion Therapy

Studies show animals, especially dogs, can have significant influence on mental and physical health in humans, particularly during times of stress, crisis, illness and loss. Being in the presence of an animal or petting an animal has a calming effect. Animal Samaritans has provided animal companion therapy in the Coachella Valley for more than 25 years.

Studies Show:

· Patients with hypertension have a decrease in blood pressure and so does the dog.

· There is a 37% drop in anxiety levels prior to a medical procedure when time is spent with a dog just before the procedure.

· Decreases in minor health problems are seen in those people who bring pets into their lives, and those who have pets, recover quicker from minor health problems.

· Sexually abused children respond well to pet therapy. They will talk to a dog when they won’t talk to an adult/therapist.

· Sexually abused adults recover quicker emotionally when pet therapy is added.

· Children with low reading skills improve significantly when they can read out loud to a dog. It is a non-threatening, supportive environment. No criticism from the dog builds confidence.

Types of Animal Companion Therapy

· Animal Companion Therapy (ACT): Qualified ACT dogs visit Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, Hospitals and many other types of facilities, helping patients feel at ease in a stressful setting.

· Reading Programs: Qualified ACT dogs visit schools and local libraries with a mission to improve children’s reading skills.

· Humane Education Presentations: Working with our Humane Educators to bring therapy dogs in to classrooms during presentations.

Meet our Animal Companion Therapy dogs!


Breed: Great Pyrenees, Anatolian Shepherd, Maremma Sheepdog and Rottweiler

Birthday: September 14, 2017

Sex: Female

Angel was born in North Carolina and loves to play and run, even though she lost her left front leg at 7 months old due to injury. She is very fast and can be as naughty as a young puppy. She loves to play with her older brother and chases her cat, Penelope, though she will also clean her face for her. She loves car rides to the dog park to play with doggie friends, going to work with Mom and chewing things, even some things that are not hers!


Breed: Australian Labradoodle

Birthday: September 28, 2016

Sex: Female

Annie is a sweet, petite 19 lb bundle of joy. She loves to run and play. She is funny and good natured and will melt your heart when she looks into your eyes.


Breed: Havanoodle (Havanese + Poodle)

Birthday: September 26, 2011

Sex: Spayed Female

Bailey was rescued from the animal shelter at 4 years old. She has been volunteering in hospitals since 2016 and loves to sit on laps and kiss. Bailey also loves to go on long walks and meet new people.


Breed: Alusky (Husky/Malamute Mix)

Birthday: January 9, 2018

Sex: Female

Full of energy and enthusiasm, Bella loves everyone she meets! Some of her favorite activities are going on walks, chasing balls, playing with her four-legged pals and making new friends. She loves to show off her tricks and be rewarded with tummy rubs and treats. This gentle giant is loving, loyal and kind.


Breed: Cairn Terrier

Birthday: June 2, 2014

Sex: Female

She was originally named Bea, which means “brings joy” in Latin, but our Daughter wanted to call her Bean, and so it was. She certainly does bring joy with her playful, loving personality. Bean is the ideal lap dog, as that is always her favorite place to be! She also loves to run as fast as a cheetah at the dog park,but always prefers any human lap to playing with her doggy friends.


Breed: Maltese

Birthday: April 25, 2005

Sex: Female

Bonnie was rescued in 2009 along with 50 other dogs from a neglectful Puppy Mill that used her as a breeder. She was kept in a crate the first 4 1/2 years of her life and very fearful of humans. She didn’t know life out of a crate. She now sits on people’s laps and prefers one on one with seniors. She loves belly rubs and running around the house being chased.


Breed: Dobie Doodle or Doodleman

Birthday: October, 2016

Sex: Female

Casey loves to be out and about. Every time she appears in public, people cannot resist asking “What is She?” Casey is an unusual mix of Standard Poodle and Doberman Pincher. She exhibits the best of both breeds. She is gentle, smart, loyal, and affectionate. She knows over 20 tricks and gladly shows off to anyone with a doggie treat. She brings so much joy to my life and to so many others.

Cashmere Bouquet

Breed: Maltipoo (1/2 AKC Maltese – 1/2 AKC Toy Poodle)

Birthday: April 3, 2015

Sex: Female

We knew that Cashmere Bouquet had something special when we brought her home at 8 weeks old. She loved to go to school and loved to learn. Her daddy is a cancer survivor, and she seemed to know something was wrong, even before the doctors told us. She went to every one of his treatments. The patients loved her. She loves to cuddle and make people happy. Her favorite game is fetch, with her little duck she has carried around all her life.


Breed: Standard Poodle

Birthday: April 29, 2016

Sex: Female

Dee Dee is calm, and comfortable with being hugged, and letting everyone pet her. Dee Dee brings a smile to everyone because she gives herself to whomever wants to be with her. She loves catching tennis balls. She runs the fastest of all the dogs in a dog park. Our grandchildren tell us: “Dee Dee is my dog”.


Breed: Standard Poodle

Birthday: July 15, 2017

Sex: Female

Faith started her life training with Guide Dogs of the  Desert for the blind. She was career changed after her elbow dysplasia was discovered. Faith is now the happiest therapy dog! She is a great ball chaser and loves to play with other dogs. She is happiest sitting close to people or resting her head on their lap. She loves car rides, smelling flowers, elevators, snow, commuter trains, trail hikes, mall walks and watching planes fly overhead!


Breed: Maltese

Birthday: December 23, 2013

Sex: Female

Glitter was born to give love and comfort. She is the most gentle and sweet natured dog. She weighs in at “almost” 4 pounds. She started her life as a show dog but did not weigh enough so fortunately I was blessed with getting her at 11 months. Glitter would spend her life on the couch or in bed cuddling all day if left up to her. She is the perfect therapy puppy!


Breed: American Bulldog Mix

Birthday: March 30, 2013

Sex: Male

Charlie may be a big dog, but he has a gentle heart. He loves to go for walks and meet new people. He enjoys visiting his friends at the schools and nursing homes. He also loves to play at home with his brother, Hondo.


Breed: American Staffordshire Terrier

Birthday: February 12, 2015

Sex: Female

Hannah is a good-spirited, happy and outgoing girl. She loves people and is extremely affectionate. Hannah will often get down on her belly to be at the level of smaller dogs, she wants nothing more than to be Loved by All. Our mission, together is to bring a more positive attitude towards the breed.


Breed: Black Lab Mix

Birthday: April 15, 2007

Sex: Female

Harley started training for therapy dog work when she was 7 months old. Being so calm and sweet, Harley was able to start working at 11 months old and has been to many schools and nursing homes in the Coachella Valley. Harley married Charlie Walker, May 19, 2016 at Landau elementary school, in a beautiful ceremony with the children. Harley Loves cheese, carrots and bread.


Breed: Standard Poodle

Birthday: March 27, 2019

Sex: Female

Gracie has been a true joy since we got her at 10 weeks of age. She is exuberant and loves people as well as other dogs. She is a most affectionate animal. She especially favors grandchildren. She is also excellent at catching a ball, and she adores fetching as well as chewing dish towels and socks.


Breed: Lab Mix

Birthday: June 1, 2015

Sex: Male

We rescued Jethro at six months old. Jethro loves his toys, playing ball and loves visiting the kids at school. Jethro is a talker and likes to sing the Happy Birthday song. Jethro loves to cuddle and is a giant lap dog.

Kalani & Kapua

Breed: Maltipoo

Birthday: Kalani 12/2/2016 | KaPua 6/12/2014

Sex: Male/Female

“Kalani” means “Sky”in Hawaiian, and rightly so. He loves to catch air by jumping on and off of high surfaces. His long legs make him quick and naturally agile. “KaPua” means “Flower/Blossom” in Hawaiian. She loves to smile, do tricks for treats, rescue tennis balls from the pool, and wrestle with her younger brother “Kalani”.


Breed: Maltese

Birthday: March 3, 2013

Sex: Female

Honey is so friendly and just loves everybody, and everybody loves her! She’s never barked or growled once, at any human. Everywhere I take her people comment to her “pretty” face, and everyone smiles at her when they see her. She loves to entertain others by finding hidden treats, which always delights her audience.


Breed: Miniature Poodle/Maltese/Border Terrier

Birthday: August 18, 2012

Sex: Female

Lexi is an ANSAM rescue who has done well with her life! This 13 lb. Miniature Poodle/Maltese/Border Terrier has more credentials with AKC than her ‘mom.’ Lexi loves visiting Rancho Mirage Terrace senior living facility. She does ‘two-feet up’ on the residents’ legs so they can pet her easily, and demonstrates her repertoire of tricks. Lexi, also, visits high schools and colleges -stress relief for students taking exams.


Breed: Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever

Birthday: February 6, 2009

Sex: Spayed Female

Abandoned, severely malnourished, and fearful as a young puppy, Lucy was rescued and treated by staff of a local animal shelter and adopted into her forever home at 6 months of age. Now a healthy, sweet, and young-at-heart adult canine, Lucy enjoys visiting senior assisted living communities – engaging with residents and entertaining them with her growing repertoire of tricks. Her extracurricular interests include non-stop retrieving, agility and scent play, and high energy swimming in the pool and at the beach.


Breed: Shi Tzu/Poodle

Birthday: April 5, 2009

Sex: Female

I never knew I wanted a dog until I met Lola. I picked her up and she put her arms around my neck, and the rest was history. I have had several extensive hospital stays and radiation treatments, and have experienced personally how therapy animals can distract, relax, and entertain. Lola loves to meet people and is soft as a teddy bear. I truly believe she was meant to bring joy to people and we now have the opportunity to give back some of the animal love that so helped me.


Breed: Shih-Poo (Shihtzu/Poodle)

Birthday: November 4, 2013

Sex: Male

Max was 8 months old when I rescued him from a family that neglected him. After maturing and training I was convinced he was born to do this. That is why we’re in the Animal Companion Therapy program. There is not a person alive that won’t be cheered up by Max’s personal attention and kisses. He loves to entertain his audience and is motivated by applause! Meet Max – – you’ll agree!


Breed: Poodle Mix or “Poo”

Birthday: November 2, 2016

Sex: Male

Moto was adopted from the Palm Springs Animal Shelter. He’s sweet, sensitive, and a very “chill” little guy. Moto likes to play with his blanket and toys at home. He loves to go to the dog park to play chase with other dogs, and enjoy pets from their owners. Moto is calm, cute, and cuddly most of the time, however he can also be silly, sassy, and stubborn.


Breed: Maltese Terrier Mix

Birthday: May 22, 2010

Sex: Female

Lulu was rescued after having been hit by a car. She was in the animal hospital for 30 days and then released to a rescue center. We were lucky to get Lulu. She has a loving personality and enjoys being petted and loved by everyone. Her love for all shines through.


Breed: Havanese Mix

Birthday: May 5, 2016

Sex: Female

“NECTAR” is the sweetest fluid secreted by a flower. I was rescued by a NO Kill facility at birth. They named me “Nectar” and I have truly lived up to my name! I have been adopted . Now I will share my sweet love with you!


Breed: Goldendoodle

Birthday: December 9, 2008

Sex: Male

At nine weeks old, Remi picked me to be his human. Since that day, he has been the most loving, devoted and intuitive dog I have ever had the privilege of spending time with. He is amazingly smart, learns quickly and absolutely loves everyone he meets. He just seems to know what people need. He is also obsessed with stuffed toys and will do just about anything to get one!


Breed: Petite Golden Doodle

Birthday: March 6, 2012

Sex: Female

Pixel is a travel size, little red dot of a dog who loves to ride in cars, learn new tricks, explore, eat treats, and cuddle. She lives the life of a Queen traveling between Palm Springs where she is an Animal Samaritan and Chicago where she is a K9 Reading Buddy.


Breed: Bloodhound/Rhodesian Ridgeback

Birthday: July 10, 2010

Sex: Male

Rufus was rescued from a shelter in Hemet. He is very docile and likes everybody. Over the years, we have been visiting at several Memory Care facilities, where Rufus is fabulous at his “job”. He loves to sit up which always makes everybody smile!


Breed: Puggle

Birthday: September, 2009

Sex: Male

Rusty is a Puggle – Pug and Beagle mix – adopted from the shelter in Camarillo, CA in September of 2010. Rusty passed his Canine Good Citizen test the next year and has visited nursing homes, assisted living facilities, memory care and libraries. His favorite is the Paws for Reading program at the local libraries. He likes seeing the other dogs, but likes the kids most. Rusty is very playful, loves to run with the dogs at the dog park and snuggle and take a dog nap when he gets home.

Siri & Buddy

Breed: Border Collie

Birthday: Siri 11/5/2012 | Buddy 7/11/2014

Sex: Female/Male

To Siri (full name Sirius), life is a game and everything in it is a toy. Buddy is a sweet lap dog who excels at catching the frisbee. They both love to meet new dogs and people. They’ve never met a stranger.


Breed: Golden Retriever

Birthday: June 3, 2011

Sex: Female

Savannah (named after the city in Georgia), loves meeting all people, and getting loved on. She has the sweetest personality and loves Therapy work. Her favorite things are tennis balls and riding in golf carts.


Breed: Poodle/Schnauzer/Wheaton Terrier

Birthday: Unknown – Approx 12 Years Old

Sex: Male

Spicey is sometimes known as Spicey Boy or “The Spicer”. He is the most perfect dog, not to mention, the smartest! He is smarter than a 2 year old child, knows at least 20 full sentences, always tries to please, is loving, kind but has a mind of his own!! He is just The Best Rescue Dog in the whole wide world!!!


Breed: Australian Shepherd

Birthday: May 10, 2015

Sex: Male

Sky has beautiful blue eyes the color of the sky. When I first got him, I asked my friends to help name him. His full name is Moche Sky Chief. He was named after the Moche people from Peru that had blue eyes. Sky is a pure bred Australian Shepherd miniature, registered with the American Stock Dog Registry. Sky’s favorite thing is to run and catch a frisbee. Sky spent a year doing therapy at the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center. He is excited to be a part of Animal Samaritans now.


Breed: Border Collie

Birthday: July 8, 2014

Sex: Female

Sky was adopted into her forever home at 4 months of age. She enjoys meeting and interacting with people of all ages. In addition to giving affection and comfort to adults and children in hospitals and other settings, Sky maintains an active schedule of continuing education that includes classes in agility, obedience, tricks, and sheepherding.


Breed: Standard Poodle

Birthday: July 26, 2012

Sex: Male

Teddy is a seven-year-old diabetic alert dog I inherited from my granddaughter who no longer needs him. He is also a register therapy dog. I am retired occupational therapist so therapy animals are right up my alley. Teddy loves everybody and every dog and is very calm and gentle.


Breed: Welsh Springer Spaniel

Birthday: December 25, 2016

Sex: Male

Tucson was born on Christmas day, 2016, in Tucson Arizona, his namesake. As a therapy dog, Tucson is reserved, calm, respectful and warm. At home, Tucson shares his space with Angelo, our cat. They drink and eat together, often times with both eating out of Tucson’s bowl at the same time. Tucson’s talents extend to acting, where he played the part of “Spot” the dog in “Shakespeare in Love” in Palm Springs where he was warmly received with standing ovations.


Breed: CavaPoo

Birthday: June 4, 2012

Sex: Male

Wally came from a rural farm in Indiana. Wally is short for Walter Payton because he was a surprise when the rest of the family returned from a Chicago Bears football game. He loves to cuddle. He’s called “Walmart Welcomer Wally” at the dog park because he loves to greet everyone.


Breed: Standard Poodle

Birthday: March 26, 2012

Sex: Male

Zane’s “fancy” name is Anutta Splash of Merlot. His grandfather was named Merlot and was his breeder’s first Standard Poodle. She was so pleased when we honored him with the registered name. Zane is very athletic as most poodles are. He flies through agility courses, loved his scent work, is awesome at rally obedience and zips through the adventure courses. He loves Peanut Butter and his best toy is our other poodle Kilo.


Breed: Terrier Mix

Birthday: March 2018

Sex: Male

Champ is a rescued dog. He enjoys meeting and interacting with people of all ages. Belly rubs are his favorite, next to hanging out with his greyhound brother and rescue mom.


Breed: Devon Rex cat

Birthday: March 2011

Sex: Male

Putino is a Devon Rex cat who was born in Italy. Tino has been a Certified Therapy Cat since 2014. He lives part time in Tacoma, WA and Indio, CA. Tino is a regular visitor to Washington State VA, US Dept. of Veterans Affairs Community Living Center and other Health Care Facilities in Indio and Tacoma. He is alo featured in heroic, Helpful and Caring Cats book by Annr E. beall, PhD. Tino is known for being the “Intuitive Feline Therapist”.


Breed: Golden Labrador

Birthday: June 17th, 2017

Sex: Female

See some of our volunteers in ACTion!

Our therapy dog team is always the most popular of all of our volunteers!  I can’t tell you what an incredible resource you have been for our most valued resource, our hospice patient volunteers and their therapy dogs!!


Destiny Hospice

So happy to have you back with us. Our residents look forward to seeing the little critters from our very worthwhile program. We LOVE the dogs and experience!


Banyan Treatment Centers

Men have forgotten this truth, but must never forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery

"The Little Prince"







Financial Stewardship

We know you have many choices when it comes to how to invest your philanthropic dollars, and Animal Samaritans takes seriously the stewardship of your investment in us.

The Wise Giving Alliance of the Better Business Bureau recommends that nonprofits not spend more than 35 cents on the dollar of its budget on administration and fundraising.

At Animal Samaritans that number is, year over year, close to 10 cents on the dollar. That means the other 90 cents goes to our mission and our services.

That’s just one of the reasons that Animal Samaritans, for more than 4 decades, has been among Southern California’s most trusted animal welfare organizations.

pets. not profits

At our state-of-the-art veterinary clinics, we’re there to provide your animals with the highest quality care, not to make a profit.

Because of your support, we are expanding this mission to broader and more diverse communities.

12,000 Animals saved!

Our Adoption Alliance Rescue Program has saved the lives of more than 12,000 animals. And were just getting started. We work with the local shelters to place animals they do not have the resources or staff to handle.  Thanks to donations like yours, we do!