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Pet-Assisted Therapy


Pet-assisted therapy is a popular service provided at Children’s Health℠ at both our Dallas and Plano campuses. The PetSmart Paws for Hope Pet-Assisted Therapy Program at Children’s Medical Center helps deliver the comfort of home to patients’ hospital rooms, ambulatory clinic and playrooms. The power of an animal to promote positive coping in an unfamiliar or even scary environment during challenging situations is amazing. The benefits of pet-assisted therapy can also include:

  • Reduction of anxiety
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Better focus and fewer distractions
  • Normalization of the hospital environment.

Thanks to a generous donation from PetSmart, we have expanded our existing pet-assisted therapy program under their Paws of Hope name to provide more dogs for more patients more days of the week.  The PetSmart Paws for Hope gift represents a five-year commitment from the company. With additional philanthropic support, Children’s Medical Center Foundation’s goal is to build a $5 million endowment to sustain the program in perpetuity. Children’s Health proudly partners with organizations dedicated to providing trained, certified animals and their handlers to Children’s Medical Center.

Volunteer Organizations

Our founding pet therapy group, Paws Across Texas , has been visiting patients in playrooms, the inpatient units, and inpatient psychiatry every week since 1999. That’s fifteen years of four-legged difference-making.

And this year, as part of our expansion, we are adding Pet Partners – among the nation’s largest pet-handling organizations -- to our pet-assisted therapy program.

If you and your canine companion would like to volunteer, visit our partners’ websites linked above.

Welcome our Newest Four-Legged Employees

We couldn't be happier to welcome our first two facility dogs, Van and Blair. As specially trained employees of our hospital, they offer comfort, support and smiles to our patients, families, staff and guest in a variety of settings.