Studies show that dogs can reduce stress and help make people feel better, emotionally and physically. For many patients, playing with a dog helps make the hospital feel more like home. The dogs might encourage a child to go for a walk, socialize with others, or participate in therapies. For some children, there’s not better medicine or treatment that compares to snuggling in bed with a warm fluffy friend. The impact of a facility dog has helped to lower elevated heart & respiration rates, provides distraction and normalization for sick children, and helps children feel better emotionally and physically.
The 2014 Fore the Kids Golf Tournament helped to establish and endowed fund, which will provide the ongoing medical care for Children’s Mercy’s two facility dogs, Hunter & Hope.
Hunter & Hope
Hunter and Hope were born and raised at a non-profit organization called Canine Assistants, Inc. in Milton, GA where they were trained to become service dogs. Each is paired with a patient activity coordinator in the Child Life Department who is their primary handler. Both dogs come to work with their handlers each morning, Monday-Friday, and go home with them at the end of the work day. When Hunter and Hope are not at work, they relax and play with other members of their handlers’ families. When they are at work, they are the incentive for children who make it through tough days and want a snuggle partner or play time.