Dogs for Joy program to expand to Yale New Haven Children's Hospital

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NEW HAVEN -

The Joy in Childhood Foundation announced Tuesday it is expanding its Dogs for Joy program to include Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Starting next year, two four-legged friends will become new employees as in-residence dogs.

"These dogs actually live in the hospital. They can do clinical work. The kids really get to know them so it's a very different kind of experience," says Kari McHugh, executive director of The Joy in Childhood Foundation.

Louvens Archilovelijah, 10, is finishing up treatment for his second bout of cancer.

"I think that's a really good thing so like, if some patients are always like, they can't really go anywhere or they're like always so tired, they have someone to stay with," Archilovelijah said.

The foundation's executive director says the dogs do more than just provide love. They're trained to do things like teach kids how to take a pill, keep patients calm during a medical intervention and provide incentives for a child to get out of bed.

"This allows a child to be a child, to hug and rub the dog and play with the dog and feel good and forget that they're in a hospital just for that moment," said Cynthia Sparer, executive director at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital.

Both in-residence dogs will be raised as puppies to perform this kind of work. They'll make their debut at Yale New Haven Children's Hospital in the next year to a year and a half.

 

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