The Child Life Department organizes regular monthly visits from specially trained and certified dogs through C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Inc. Therapy Dog Program. C.H.A.M.P. stands for Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilites. The dogs promote peer interaction, fun and pain distraction for patients.
Read about Harry and Tommy, pet therapy dogs...
Patient Michael Ball plays doctor with Tommy and Harry
As patient Michael Ball, 7, rolls on the floor and follows dogs Harry and Tommy around, he displays how dog, quite possibly, is man’s best friend. There is a contagious energy throughout the entire third floor playroom when Harry and Tommy are around. Though they do not speak, the dogs connect with the patients in a way no human could. While some patients are limited or unable to physically play with the dogs, it does not matter, because their excitement and fun have no restrictions with Tommy and Harry.
For patients at Cardinal Glennon, there never seems to be a dull moment. When their days aren’t consumed with medical formalities, Child Life Services is there to provide them with an array of entertainment and fun. One particularly fun event is Pet Therapy.
Pet therapy includes monthly visits from specially trained and certified dogs through the C.H.A.M.P.ion Therapy Dog Program. C.H.A.M.P., which stands for Canine Helpers Allow More Possibilities, brings two dogs each month to visit the patients. Tommy, a Cairn Terrier, and Harry, a Sheltie, can be seen on all fours roaming the play rooms and spreading joy. Fortunately, each month the same dogs visit with their trainers Liz and Joyce. They, like many patients, have become regulars.
Whether it’s performing a trick or simply being petted, these dogs provide a nice diversion and a great deal of fun for many patients. The dogs and trainers go around to each patient in the room to offer a paw shake or a simple hello. Patients can interact as much or as little as desired. As some patients play and even imitate the dogs, others enjoy watching and laughing as the dogs perform.
“Pet therapy is a great stress relief for the patients. For those patients who maybe have a pet at home that they miss, it’s a nice reminder, or for those patients that enjoy animals, it’s a neat experience,” says Nicole Roy, child life specialist.
Pet therapy is a great experience for patients and parents alike. Patients have the opportunity to interact with other patients, meet new people, and make some new furry friends.
Learn more information about C.H.A.M.P. Assistance Dogs, Inc.
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