On August 26 we celebrate our four-legged companions because it’s National Dog Day! At Children’s Minnesota, we love all pets and we know kids do too. That’s why we have a program called Pets Assisting with Healing (PAWH).
PAWH is a volunteer service where animals and handlers are registered through Pet Partners. The goal of Children’s PAWH program, which includes dogs, rabbits and guinea pigs, is to normalize the hospital environment, support a human-animal bond, encourage conversation and interaction, and brighten the days of patients, families and staff. PAWH teams are also used during physical rehabilitation sessions on a select and limited basis to help motivate children to meet their occupational, speech or physical therapy goals.
For more than two years, PAWH volunteer Missy and her dog, Blayze, have been visiting an inpatient unit at Children’s.
Missy, who is currently obtaining her doctorate in psychology, has studied animal-human relationships and the benefits they have. This is what has inspired her to volunteer with PAWH.
“My dog, Blayze, loves children, and we chose the Children’s Minnesota to visit because he seems to enjoy it the most. … Kids are his ‘people.’”
Missy and Blayze have truly brightened the lives of many patients here at Children’s. From bonding with kids going through treatment, to giving children a different kind of support and love, Blayze and Missy have shown our patients true loyalty and companionship.
While PAWH is a program that benefits many of our patients, it also benefits the parents, visitors and staff. “It is very therapeutic to pet a dog and to talk to them. It gives them a break, and it adds some excitement to their stressful days,” Missy said.
Children’s is so thankful to volunteer teams like Missy and Blayze and their dedicated time to our hospital and our patients.
Are you interested in volunteering with PAWH? Click here to apply.