This year we launched our innovative Canine Co-Pilots facility dog program, which is already making a difference in how we care for kids like Brady!
He has been a patient at Dayton Children’s since he was a newborn and requires frequent blood draws for his chronic condition.
“As he got older it became a very traumatic thing to have labs drawn and often required multiple people to help hold him down,” says his mom Kerri. “It was awful to watch because he has the sweetest personality.”
Recently, Brady learned about our new facility dogs, Millie and Peppermint. Brady said he would only do his blood draw if one of the dogs could sit with him. Unfortunately, the dogs were busy that day and couldn’t come right away. “Brady was super upset and didn’t want to go in, but all of a sudden Millie appeared!” recalls Kerri.
Facility dogs are different than therapy dogs. They’re specifically trained in comfort positions, which help in situations like Brady’s. The dogs also work with their handlers to encourage kids to move around even when they're feeling sick, comfort kids who have experienced trauma, and more. “The quicker kids get out of bed after a procedure, the less time they spend at the hospital,” says Meghan, a Child Life Specialist.
So, what happened with Brady once Millie appeared? “Brady’s disposition changed,” says Kerri. The dog put her head in his lap and laid still while the technician drew his blood. No one needed to hold Brady down! “He was actually smiling and didn’t even flinch when they did it,” Kerri recalls. “The power of these animals was amazing. It’s completely above and beyond anything I could have imagined and I’m so grateful the hospital thinks of these little details to make these experiences a little easier for our kids.”
Thanks to donors like you, we – along with our Canine Co-Pilots – can go above and beyond for our kids, families, and staff.