Dogs for kids

Meet the dogs who provide therapy services to children in the hospital.

Think the children’s hospital just employs humans? Think again. In addition to a team of talented doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who take care of children, we have a pack of pooches committed to helping patients and their families during their time with us. In honor of National Dog Day, meet some of our four-legged rock stars who visit children and their families:

Cocker spaniel/poodle
Age: 10; therapy dog for 8 years
Fun facts: Buddy’s favorite toy is a stuffed bear he sleeps with every night. He also is an agility champion.
Toy Maltese
Age: 9
Therapy dog for 8 years at the children’s hospital, schools and nursing homes
Fun fact: Cutip comes to the hospital dressed in seasonal outfits.
Lab mix
Age: 8; therapy dog for 1 year
Fun facts: Dale’s favorite toys are a squeaky squirrel and a peanut butter-stuffed Kong. He loves visiting the lake and fetching sticks in the water.
Labrador retriever
Age: 5; she just started as a therapy dog
Fun facts: Heidi’s favorite toy is a knotted rope with a tennis ball. She has a very keen sense of smell and did search-and-rescue training.
Flat coat retriever
Age: 9; therapy dog for 4 years
Fun facts: Juan loves McDonald’s vanilla ice cream cones and gets one after each therapy visit. His best friend is a fat kitty named Isabella.
Alaskan malamute
Age: almost 2; he just passed his therapy dog certification
Fun facts: Major’s favorite toy is a squeaky Kong named Wubba. Major loves to “talk” to visitors! He is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen.
Golden retriever
Age: 3; therapy dog for 2 years
Fun facts: Mercy is one of a nationwide group of golden retrievers specially trained to interact with people and is certified as a comfort dog.  She works with people in nursing homes, hospitals, schools, libraries and even deploys in response to disasters. Her favorite toy is a peanut butter-filled Kong. She has her own Facebook page.
Golden retriever
Age: 11; therapy dog for more than 10 years
Fun facts: Oliver’s favorite toy is his brown bear that he loves to carry around and cuddle with when he is taking a nap. He was initially trained at the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women to be an assistance dog through Paws With Purpose. He became a comfort dog at age 2. He has made many visits at schools to help teach students about disabilities and how a service dog can make a difference. He has recently had some health issues and will be retiring from therapy this year.
Golden retriever/Labrador mix
Age: 5; therapy dog for 2 years
Fun facts: Waylon came from a shelter and had a few homes before finding his forever family. He is an American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen and is a member of the American Red Cross pet therapy team. His favorite toys include Nylabones and tug toys. He has learned to read and follow commands on flash cards.
Age: 5; therapy dog for 4.5 years
Fun facts: Ziggy is a puppy mill rescue. His favorite toy is a stuffed chicken pox-shaped toy his human originally received as a gift. Ziggy adopted the germ-animal and carries it through the house, cleans it and cares for it like a puppy. He and his handler serve as members of the Kentucky Community Crisis Response Board Canine Compassion Strike Team, responding to local and state disasters. He also is a nationally certified crisis response canine (a working dog) and can respond both locally and nationally. When not working, Ziggy loves to hike and explore the outdoors. He also enjoys a good nap and playing with his dog and human friends. His laid-back personality makes him an easy friend.

Pet therapy is available at all Norton Healthcare hospitals and some outpatient facilities. See our dogs that help out at our adult-service facilities. To learn more about pet therapy, contact one of these certified pet therapy training organizations that have our paw of approval:

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