Program story

Children’s Hospital LA Therapy Dog Program



Sometimes, the best medicine isn’t medicine at all.
It comes in the form of a furry four-legged friend. Therapy dogs are
essential to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, bringing hope and
happiness to more than 60,000 patients, siblings, parents and visitors
every year. They offer a cheerful presence at the bedside, unconditional
support and reassuring companionship to uplift spirits and help sick kids
physically, emotionally and psychosocially.

The Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Dog Therapy Program touches nearly
every corner of the hospital, from the bustling lobby areas to the Pediatric
Intensive Care Unit. Today, there are more than 120 volunteer therapy dogs
who visit patients morning and night, seven days a week, all year-round. The
arrival of a dog at a patient’s room is often one of the most anticipated parts
of the child’s hospital stay, providing an opportunity for a happy, memorable
moment during what can be a challenging time. And that positive impact
reaches family, friends and staff, as well.

Although research shows that therapy dogs can help lower blood
pressure, decrease stress, calm heart rates, increase mood-boosting
endorphins and profoundly enhance a patient’s experience in the
hospital, their services are not eligible for reimbursement from public
funds or private insurance. As a result, the program must be supported
entirely by donations.

Today, demand for dog therapy across CHLA has never been greater. With
the help of compassionate philanthropic partners, the program will be able to
grow, train more volunteers and touch the lives of more young patients. The
Kennel Club of Beverly Hills is proud to support the CHLA Dog Therapy
Program with a portion of the entry fees to the Beverly Hills Dog Show.