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A warm and fuzzy hug can help anyone feel better. A dog's healing presence is known to have a positive influence on wellness. That's the driving force behind Sit...Stay...PLAY, the facility dog program at Cook Children's.
Interacting with a dog can help your child—and your family members—feel more at ease by reducing stress and anxiety. At Cook Children's, we have professionally trained dogs on our staff through a partnership with Canine Assistants, a service dog agency in Georgia. A team of Cook Children's employees has been trained as the dogs' handlers, and each day the dogs come to work to serve as part of our therapeutic environment. Whether the dogs come in and just sit by your child's side or help them recover from a procedure, there are added health benefits... and lots of happy tales!
Some of the benefits of interaction with our facility dogs are:
Thanks to the generosity of donors, golden retrievers Ralph, Chanel, Journey, Kitty, and Lulu became part of the Cook Children's family. Meet the members of our Sit...Stay....PLAY program who bring comfort and healing to patients, families and staff.
Ralph is handled by Facility Dog Program Coordinator Kizzy Marco and Child Life Manager Katie Campbell. Ralph and his team cover most of the medical center inpatient units, bone marrow transplant, outpatient surgery, and everywhere else as needed! Ralph came to Cook Children's with his sister Chanel in January 2014. He is known for his big personality and many tricks!
Chanel is handled by child life specialist Kat Davitt and pain team staff members Fred Oriti and Wendy Wood. Chanel spends time with our neurosciences patients and joins our pain management team for patient visits as well. Chanel came to us with her brother Ralph. She is as snuggly as they come and is always willing to lend a supportive paw for patients in need.
Journey is handled by child life specialists Julia Smeltzer, Angie Bradley, and Zoe Growald. Journey spends time seeing patients in inpatient acute care units, and visits the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Journey came to work at Cook Children's along with her cousin Kitty. She can often be heard "talking," especially with toys in her mouth, and loves to wear bows in her hair.
Kitty is handled by Child Advocacy Resource and Evaluation (CARE) team director Dr. Jamye Coffman and CARE team staff members Stacy Starkes and Lorie Palacios. Kitty came to us along with her cousin Journey, and works closely with the CARE team. Kitty is a spunky and sweet dog and loves to help calm patients during their exams and then play hard on her break!
Lulu is handled by recreational therapist Carl Cropp, and family therapist Abby Blakely. Lulu is our newest dog; her first day of work was March 27, 2017, and she works in the Behavioral Health Unit. Lulu was donated to Cook Children’s through the generosity of former Texas Ranger’s pitcher Derek Holland and the 60 Feet 6 Foundation. Lulu’s favorite toy is her rubber chicken, and her favorite activity outside of work is digging for hidden treasures!
For more information about Sit...Stay...PLAY, please call 682-885-6639.
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