Pet Therapy Volunteer Program on CBS Early Show!

This morning, the CBS Early Show highlighted Children’s pet therapy program! Click here to view video from the CBS Early Show.


Shots from CBS Early Show: Volunteer team Karen & Reba work with Nicole and a child during a therapy session.

Children’s Pets Assisting With Healing (PAWH) program includes more than 25 “dog teams” and two bunnies who visit patients on our inpatient units and other areas of the hospital, as well as working with patients during rehab appointments. The CBS Early Show story follows two PAWH teams working with patients and families in the Rehab Department at Children’s-St. Paul:  Heather Gillen and her dog, Angel (a Bichon Frise Mix), and Karen Sheahan and her dog, Reba, (a Keeshond).

Our dog teams work closely with therapists during their sessions with patients. Occupational therapist Nicole Iammatteo-Lindstrom describes the work of Karen and Reba this way: “Karen always comes to our therapy sessions with enthusiasm and excitement for the children that I see for Occupational Therapy. We work with a little boy,  Jake, who truly looks forward to our sessions because of having Karen and Reba there, and all the fun and goofy things we get to do as a team. Jake enjoys hearing stories about Reba and her agility competitions, and asks about how a dog  goes through the courses and what kind of training a dog would need to complete an agility course. Karen took the time to make up a variety of agility dog course mazes that exercise the visual motor and fine motor skills that Jake needs to work on. I’m  truly thankful to have such a great team to work with on a weekly basis and feel  honored by their time and commitment.”

Thank you to all of our PAWH teams who do such amazing work here at Children’s Hospital.  The difference you’re making in the lives of children and their families is incredible!

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