You might find this hard to believe, but I’m not the only friendly, fur-covered creature roaming the halls at CHOC Children’s.
That’s right: The hospital is home to more than 40 pet therapy dogs.
This has been a big development since I first visited CHOC in 1964. These caring canines – and their obliging owners – dedicate their time to help bring smiles to patients and their families, with the hopes of relieving stress, normalizing the hospital experience, and providing distraction, conversation and encouragement.
Specially certified, each dog is escorted throughout the hospital with its handler. They frequently visit CHOC’s Tidwell Procedure Center, clinics, Outpatient Infusion Center and the Julia and George Argyros Emergency Department.
Each dog has a trading card with their picture and pertinent information like whether they prefer tennis balls or Frisbees. Patients love collecting cards and I love watching children and their families interact with these delightful dogs.
It’s a sure bet that the dogs will bring happiness to children who are in stressful situations. And I love seeing them too – they just seem to get me, you know?
Thank you, pet therapy dogs and their owners, for helping to make hospital visits brighter for CHOC patients and families!