Thursday, December 28, 2017
Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center recently received a grant from PetSmart Charities, the leading funder of animal welfare in North America, to support dog visitation services for patients and families at the medical center.
Pets have the remarkable ability to bring us comfort, to reduce stress and anxiety, and provide unconditional love. Research shows that dog interactions also offer substantial medical and emotional benefits to sick children. And animal assisted therapy and activities provide opportunities for motivation, education and recreation – all of which enhance a child’s quality of life.
Support from PetSmart Charities will cover costs for the volunteer dogs’ annual health screenings, new dog evaluations, dog training and visit scheduling. The volunteer dog/handler teams will visit most inpatient units, certain outpatient clinics and waiting rooms, and will provide special one-on-one visits when medically approved. There are currently 62 volunteer dogs whose work impacts approximately 6,500 people each year.
“Our dogs and their handlers are a source of joy, laughter, encouragement and comfort for patients, their families, and hospital staff alike,” says Edith Markoff, PhD, manager of the volunteer Dog Visitation Program at Cincinnati Children’s. “This generous gift from PetSmart Charities will help us continue to work towards our goal of providing the best possible experience for our patients – and enable us to spread even more tail-wagging happiness than ever before.”
“As an organization that believes in the healing power of pets, we are proud to support the Dog Visitation Program, and its work to enhance the lives of children receiving treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. This program not only supports the bond between pets and people, but will also positively impact the lives of thousands of children and their families,” said Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities.
Enhancing Quality of Life Through Pets is just one of PetSmart Charities’ ten grant categories designed to support their expanded mission: to find lifelong loving homes for all pets by supporting programs that bring people and pets together. Funding from PetSmart Charities supports best practices that enhance the human-animal bond and keep more pets in loving homes with their forever families. For more information, visit PetSmart Charities’ website.