BOSTON (CBS) — Boston Children’s Hospital is celebrating the expansion of their pet therapy program.
Thanks to a grant from PetSmart Charities for $360,300, the hospital will double the number of therapy dogs from 17 to 34.
Since 2003, therapy dogs have made more than 12,000 patient visits at the hospital.
Through the Pawprints program, four-legged friends make a huge difference for pediatric patients and their families, providing unconditional love during a tough time.
Patient Julie Milunski, who has been in and out of the hospital her whole life, said she knows firsthand the impact the dogs can make on their stay.
“I really feel that they decrease pain, and definitely decrease anxiety,” said Milunski. “Sometimes the hospital can be a really scary place … having the dogs there just to kind of ease that transition and bring a bit of normalcy to the hospital stay is really nice.”
Starting in 2019, there will be enough therapy dogs to visit Boston Children’s Hospital satellite locations in Peabody, Waltham, and the Martha Elliot Health Center.