If there’s one thing that can make almost anyone smile, it’s a puppy. That’s why therapy dogs are such a welcome sight at hospitals, and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta just welcomed a new furry member to its crew.
CHOA is home of the Canines for Kids program, which brings service dogs to visit children in the hospital. This 100% donor-funded program is designed to serve up some joy to those who need it the most. The program has been even more important during the pandemic, as visits and activities have been limited.
Fortunately, CHOA has welcomed a new member to the team to help out! Aries is an adorable golden retriever. His long, floppy blond ears, black button nose, and gentle eyes are sure to help soothe any anxieties and provide the kids with some much-needed comfort. All that silky, soft fur will help, too!
Each member of the 14-dog team of Canines for Kids at CHOA is assigned to a different division. Aries will be joining the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, where he’ll help kids who are undergoing chemo, radiation, and bone marrow transplants.
Jessica Westbrooks, a child life specialist at the Center and Aries’ primary handler, said therapy dogs can help people cope with stressful situations in ways that nothing else can.
“I think that for our patients, animal-assisted therapy is a wonderful resource to promote coping with pain, nausea, anxiety, and stress when sometimes many other coping strategies might not be as beneficial,” Westbrooks said in an interview with Southern Living.
Hopefully, Aries provided you with a little pick-me-up today as well! If you want to help him continue his important work at CHOA and Canines for Kids, you can donate here.