These Children’s Hospital Therapy Dogs Are Everything We Need In The World Right Now
Seanan, a heart patient at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, gets snuggles from Uno, a 7-year-old Golden Retriever. Uno is one of 16 service dogs that take part in the hospital’s Canine for Kids program. Seanan may get his own service dog soon!
This 12-year-old dachshund has visited little patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital for more than a decade. Kids love Lee Roy’s signature tricks, including standing like a dinosaur, hopping like a bunny, and dancing like a ballerina. He’s one of nine volunteer therapy dogs in Seattle Children’s Animal-Assisted Activities Program.
A 3-year-old Labrador-Retriever mix, Denver is known for rolling over onto the floor for belly rubs. He’s one of three full-time service dogs at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital/University of Michigan Health System. After a visit with one of the dogs, some parents have mentioned that it’s the first time they have seen their child truly smile in days.
One of more than 50 service dogs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Koji is a 4-year-old Chihuahua-Maltese mix. Koji likes to give kisses and eat blueberry treats. The hospital’s Gerald B. Shreiber Pet Therapy Program recently expanded its service to families who are waiting to check in at some of the hospital’s outpatient facilities.
Four-year-old Lily Wolff felt anxious about her dental appointment at Akron Children’s Hospital. But before work began, Lily got a visit from Mickey, a Lhasa-Apso mix who is a member of the hospital’s Doggie Brigade. Mickey settled right into the dental chair with Lily, offered a friendly and furry distraction, and planned to stay as long as necessary. The big smile on Lily’s face indicates “mission accomplished.”
Mischa and Aurora
These Cavalier King Charles Spaniels not only look alike—they’re both rescue dogs and were born on the same day, a continent apart! Now, they have one more thing in common: a sweet mission as a pair of a dozen therapy dogs for University of Rochester Medical Center’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. “When a dog leans over and rests its head on a child’s lap, it brings such comfort,” says Wendy Lane, the hospital's child life coordinator.
The 3-year-old Golden Retriever spends her time in the Comprehensive Epilepsy Center and the CHECK Foster Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. “One teenager was pacing, repeating that he couldn’t be here and he had to leave when Idina walked over to him and put her head up into his hands,” recalls Mary Greiner, M.D., medical director of the hospital’s Foster Care Center. “He immediately sunk into a chair and began to pet her. After a few minutes of just letting them be together, he began to talk. For that kid, who was one step away from walking out of our door, Idina made all the difference.”
This 2-year-old English cream Golden Retriever cheers up kids at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. He’s got plenty of furry friends, with more than 45 other dogs taking part in the hospital’s Animal-Assisted Therapy Program.
Beck and Hud
In addition to providing support, these full-time medical dogs at Nationwide Children’s Hospital are major motivators. Beck, a 5-year old Labrador/-Golden Retriever mix, plays fetch with patients, helping them build strength in their arms and their legs. Hud, a 6-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, can stand on hind legs to help a child maintain balance or walk with patients through obstacle courses and scavenger hunts throughout the hospital.
Visits from Olive, a 6-year-old Dalmatian, help bring a sense of normalcy to patients at John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. Olive can even help calm a patient during a procedure and is frequently part of the hospital’s arsenal of distractions and stress reducers.
A yellow Labrador Retriever, Ziggy in one of more than 60 dogs in pet therapy program at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Little patients love to help walk the dogs!
This 10-year-old Golden Retriever has been part of the Prescription Pet Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado for more than half his life. He has been called a miracle worker by some of the staff because of his ability to comfort kids with traumatic brain injuries and child abuse.