July 22, 2019
It's always tough for sick kids confined to their hospital beds, but a new program coming to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia hopes to brighten their dog days of summer.
The Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation's Dogs for Joy program, a $2 million initiative, will provide 11 trained, in-residence service dogs to spread joy at nine U.S. pediatric hospitals this summer. The program will facilitate animal-assisted therapy for nearly 150,000 pediatric patients.
While simply petting dogs can provide healing for patients, these dogs are actually trained to teach kids how to take a pill, keep them calm during treatments, encourage them to get out of bed for a walk and more.
"When kids face serious illness, it robs them of the simple joys of childhood," said Kari McHugh, executive director of the Joy in Childhood Foundation. "The Joy in Childhood Foundation is always seeking new ways to help kids feel like kids, even on their most difficult days. Working with the best pediatric staff in the nation, we are proud to partner with these facilities to bring joy to pediatric patients with animal-assisted therapy as part of their treatment."
CHOP and eight other hospital partners submitted proposals to the Joy in Childhood Foundation earlier this year.