Animal-assisted therapy uses the meaningful relationship between animals and humans to address the physical and psychological needs of patients and positively affect their health and recovery. This is an integral part of the Zones’ commitment to healing patients through therapeutic play. In the Zones and often at bedsides, trained dogs (and sometimes other animals) and handlers—either Child Life specialists or volunteers—bring happiness and a sense of calm to children facing treatments and procedures.
Specific areas in the hospital where animals are helpful include pain clinics, oncology units, cardiac intensive care, and the ER. Interaction with animals decreases stress, offers an alternative focus away from pain and treatment, creates an environment of unconditional love and acceptance, promotes social interaction, and reduces the stress for patients separated from their own pets.
The smiles say it all!