Make Way For Pups! This Canine Parade Brings Joy To Hospitalized Children.

four women in matching plaid pajamas walking four golden retrievers who are in the same matching pajamas down the halls of texas children's hospital

The holidays are a tough time to spend in the hospital, especially for children.

That’s why, to help make their Christmas season a bit brighter, the Texas Children’s Hospital put on the best (and fluffiest) parade ever.

That took place in 2021, but it all started in 2016 when the Pawsitive Play Program was born. Thanks to their partnership with Canine Assistants, the hospital is able to find the perfect service dogs to provide comfort, encouragement, and a sense of normalcy for their young patients.

Each dog is bred and trained to work in a hospital environment, receiving a year and a half of training before taking on their very special jobs, something these adorable pups take very seriously.

young girl holding out a treat for a patient golden retriever at texas children's hospital
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In fact, they’re treated just like every other employee — they get a badge and a lunch break and, at the end of every day, they get to go home (with their handler) where they spend their free time however they like!

“The animal-assisted therapy dogs provide support to those who may be having trouble coping with a hospital stay, new diagnosis or certain medical procedure,” their website says. “Our dogs work full time alongside our child life specialists and coordinate with the multi-disciplinary team to provide goal-oriented, therapeutic interventions and emotional support for hospitalized children as well as families and staff.”

golden retriever laying on the floor next to a little girl and her parents who are staying at texas children's hospital
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Although the Texas Children’s Hospital started out with just one golden retriever, Elsa, they’ve since hired three more professional pups: Bailey, Pinto, and Cohen, all of whom were happy to be a part of the Christmas parade that helped cheer up neurology and transplant patients stuck in the hospital until after the holiday season.

As if a puppy parade wasn’t cute enough, to make the event even better, the handlers and their dogs all wore matching plaid pajamas as they strolled down the halls!

woman in plaid pajamas and a little girl sitting on a hospital bed petting a golden retriever at texas children's hospital
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According to several parents, this fluffy surprise had their children smiling from ear to ear, something they especially needed at the time.

“There’s a lot of growth happening in our program,” Katherine (Adair) Galanski, animal-assisted therapy coordinator said, “And we’re beyond excited to widen our ability to pawsitively impact more patients and families.”

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