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Because childhood should be simple ...



A warm and fuzzy hug can help anyone feel better. A dog's healing presence is known to have a positive influence on wellness. That's the driving force behind Sit...Stay....PLAY, the resident dog program at Cook Children's.

Petting a dog can help your child—and your family members—feel more at ease by reducing stress and anxiety. At Cook Children's, we have professionally trained therapy dogs on our staff through a partnership with Canine Assistants. A team of Cook Children's employees has been trained as the dogs' handlers, and each day the dogs come to work to serve as part of our therapeutic environment. Whether the dogs come in and just sit, stay by your child's side or play a bit, there are added health benefits ... and lots of happy tales.

There are many benefits to having therapeutic service dogs as part of our staff. The dogs can:

Thanks to the generosity of donors, golden retrievers Ralph and Chanel became part of the Cook Children's family. See how the Sit...Stay....PLAY program brings comfort and healing to patients, families and staff.

Meet Ralph

RalphRalph is handled by Child Life Zone Program Coordinator Kizzy Marco and Child Life Manager Katie Campbell. He spends time in the Child Life Zone as well as visiting patients in their rooms throughout the medical center. Ralph came to Cook Children's with his sister Chanel. He is known for his big personality and many tricks!

Meet Chanel

ChanelChanel is handled by Child Life Specialist Kat Davitt and pain team staff members Fred Oriti and Tracey Gayle. Chanel spends time with our neurosciences patients and joins our pain management team for patient visits as well. Chanel came to us with her brother Ralph; she is as snuggly as they come and is always willing to lend a supportive paw for patients in need.

Meet Journey

JourneyJourney is handled by Child Life Specialists Julia Smeltzer and Angie Bradley. Journey spends time seeing patients in cardiology and endrocrinolgy, and visits the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). Journey came to work at Cook Children's along with her cousin Kitty. She can often be heard "talking," especially with toys in her mouth, and loves to wear bows in her hair.

Meet Kitty

KittyKitty is handled by Child Advocacy Resource and Evaluation (CARE) team director Dr. Jamye Coffman and CARE team staff member Stacy Starkes. Kitty came to us along with her cousin Journey, and works closely with the CARE team. Kitty is a spunky and sweet dog and loves to help calm patients during their exams and then play hard on her break!

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Learn more about our program

For more information about Sit...Stay....PLAY, please call 682-885-7989.

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