Feel Good

Dog Therapy for Kids

A cheerful dog called Jeremiah is helping children to cope with being in hospital. The happy dog comforts anxious children and cheers them up just by being in their room.

Jeremiah has become a key part of their treatment at the Inova Loudon Hospital, Leesburg, Virginia.

Jami Guerrina, whose 6-year-old son Britton needed hospital treatment, said the dog helped him calm down. She said: “Britton was brave, but it was tough. Jeremiah came and that was the first time he started to laugh and he started to play. It’s so hard to be strong for your kids and to hold it all together. Who doesn’t love a nice big dog to come to play with your 6-year-old.”

Jeremiah’s owner and hospital medic Dr. Jill McCabe said the dog has a calming influence on kids and takes their mind off their illnesses.

She said a simple wag of a tail or a friendly paw makes them forget their worries: “Hospital can be very difficult, traumatic, challenging at times so we do anything to make it more comfortable. …Jeremiah is an extra little tool we have in our tool case.”

The animal is a part of a scheme called Hero Dogs based in Brookeville, Maryland, which trains dogs to help service veterans and patients.

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