There’s A Different Kind of Medicine in the Halls of this Children’s Hospital That’s Bringing Smiles Back


The young patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital look forward to visits from a very different kind of therapist–one that walks on all fours and sports a collar.

The dogs of the Paws for Hope program are proof that sometimes the best medicine can be found in the unconditional love and comfort offered by a furry friend. As KSDK News reports, visiting with a therapy dogs provides a few moments where worries can disappear. While spending time with their canine companion, a child who has spent months in a hospital bed can be reminded of being at home.

And it turns out that the therapy dogs can make a profound and immediate difference. Sharon Johnson, a volunteer who participates in the program with her dog, says, “Some of them won’t get out of bed. And you walk into a room and now we have smiles, we have giggles. We have kids who are willing to get out of bed.”

Paws for Hope has been bringing comfort to the patients at Children’s Hospital for over 20 years. The dogs are specially chosen based on their temperament and go through an intensive training program.

Even after leaving the hospital, some children will return to visit the pup that provided them so much comfort during their stay. That companionship and love makes everyone involved feel better, even if only for a little while.