Pet Therapy: A "Profound and Beautiful" Impact on Kids

August 25, 2016
Topics: Child Life

dog blog image
Sammy, one of Riley Hospital's fleet of 20 Pet Therapy dogs

As we celebrate National Dog Day, we wanted to take a moment to salute Riley Hospital’s fleet of 20 Pet Therapy dogs.  

Volunteers bring the highly-trained dogs into hospital rooms to bring comfort and joy to Riley patients and family members. Sammy, whose photo you see here, visits the Speedway Burn Center and the Cancer Center once a week with volunteer Barb Cohen, bringing many smiles to faces. Sammy is a 4-year-old Black Miniature Schnauzer who loves to go on walks, chase squirrels, and play with his brother, Toby.

The effects of the Pet Therapy program, which is coordinated by Riley’s Child Life team, can be hard to capture in words. Child Life Specialist Caitlin Dougherty did her best to sum up what these special dogs bring to Riley: 

“There is no good way to describe the pure love and healing that takes place with Pet Therapy. It’s something that has to be seen, felt, and experienced. Our patients get the privilege to experience everything this program has to offer during their journey here with us. When you get to see a patient who hasn’t smiled, gotten out of bed, or spoken much during their stay become a normal child who is laughing, playing and moving around with a Pet Therapy dog, it helps you realize the significant impact these dogs are having on these patients. It’s really a profound and beautiful interaction to see!”

Thank you, Riley dogs and volunteers, for the happy moments you bring to hospitalized children!

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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