The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s Dogs for Joy program is helping increase the number of dogs who work full-time in children’s hospitals to bring joy to kids battling illness.

Black dog wearing Joy in Childhood Foundation service dog vest

These dogs, known as in-residence dogs, are full-time employees of the hospital who come to work every day like their human counterparts and can be a critical part of a child’s treatment team. They perform a range of tasks that help medical teams achieve their clinical goals – like keeping a child calm during a medical intervention or providing an incentive for a child to get out of bed and go for a walk – and they are trained to do incredible things like teach kids how to take a pill or model how to put on a hospital gown.

The Foundation’s goal is to dramatically increase the number of in-residence dog programs in children’s hospitals around the country and the prevalence of animal-assisted therapy as part of treatment. Through the Dogs for Joy program, the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation awards grants to children’s hospitals to launch a new in-residence dog program or expand an existing program. To date, we have provided grants to 17 children’s hospitals for 32 in-residence dogs.


The deadline to apply for a Dogs for Joy Grant in 2023 is August 18. Grants are structured for multi-year programming over three years. To be eligible, applicants must be a children’s hospital or general hospital with a dedicated pediatric department and within geographic proximity to a Dunkin’ location. Visit our FAQ page or contact with any questions.