Certified therapy dogs visit Sparrow Pediatrics twice a week. The dogs bring smiles to the young patients' faces even though the children may not feel well or are tired of being cooped up in the hospital. Children can throw toys for the dogs to retrieve or just cuddle up with them.
The program originated at Sparrow after physicians reviewed research at other hospitals that indicated patient satisfaction after total joint replacements rose with dog therapy visits. Each pet therapist animal must meet health and testing standards set by Therapy Dogs International, a volunteer group based in New Jersey. Dogs volunteering at Sparrow must be at least two years old and meet additional requirements set by the hospital.