Texas Children’s Welcomes Two New Facility Dogs to Bring Comfort and Support to Patients

Press Release

The hospital’s celebrated Pawsitive Play Program expands with the addition of Melman and Lawton

HOUSTON (July 1, 2024) – Texas Children’s Hospital is excited to announce the arrival of two new facility dogs that are trained to provide patients and their families comfort and support during their hospital stay.

Melman, a 2-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, recently began work with his handler, Adair Winget, in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Texas Children’s Heart Center. Melman replaced beloved Bailey, a Golden Retriever who retired in May after more than six years of service.

Lawton, also a 2-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross, will serve the Texas Children’s Cancer Center with his handler, Teaghan Bush Robinson, and will be dedicated to Cancer Center patients. 

Winget and Robinson are certified child life specialists who work with their assigned facility animals up to 40 hours each week, providing the dogs with breaks and time to recharge.

“We are so excited to welcome these new facility dogs,” said Mary Tietjens, Assistant Director of Clinical Support Services. “We are delighted that Melman and Lawton are beginning their journeys of service with us. Now that the Pawsitive Play Program is well-established, we know these incredible animals will bring comfort and peace to hundreds of patients and families.”

Employees and animals who work as part of the Texas Children’s Pawsitive Play Program help to boost children’s moods and elevate their self-confidence, as well as decrease their anxiety, perception of pain, and sense of isolation. The dogs are specially trained to work alongside Texas Children’s physicians, nurses and therapy teams, providing targeted interventions to patients across the hospital.

Both new facility animals, Melman and Lawton, are prepared for their careers by professional trainers at Canine Companions®, a not-for-profit organization that provides service dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs to professionals. These dogs are specially bred, raised and trained for these roles, and selected based on their natural personality traits, behaviors and skills.

“Melman has the most delightful spirit, instantly putting everyone in a good mood when he is around,” Winget said. “His loving, helpful and hardworking heart shines through, and I can’t wait to witness all the ways he helps our patients meet their goals. I’m excited to start this new adventure with him!”

About Lawton, Robinson said some of his most distinctive personality traits are his curiosity and eagerness to explore his environment, as well as his love for children and other dogs.

“Lawton’s arrival to Texas Children’s has been such a joy to be a part of.” she said. “His arrival has been long awaited, heavily anticipated, and completely worth the wait. So far, he has worked with several patients individually — and in groups— to help meet therapeutic goals.”

Melman and Lawton joined five other Texas Children’s facility dogs, making them a team of seven. The veteran team of facility dogs are:

•    Pinto, an 8-year-old Golden Retriever
•    Pluto, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever
•    Cohen, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever/Poodle cross
•    Angus, a 4-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross 
•    Crosby, a 2-year-old Labrador/Golden Retriever cross



Texas Children’s, a nonprofit health care organization, is committed to creating a healthier future for children and women throughout the global community by leading in patient care, education and research. Consistently ranked as the best children’s hospital in Texas and among the top in the nation, Texas Children’s has garnered widespread recognition for its expertise and breakthroughs in pediatric and women’s health. The system includes the Texas Children’s Duncan NRI; the Feigin Tower for pediatric research; Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, a comprehensive obstetrics/gynecology facility focusing on high-risk births; Texas Children’s Hospital West Campus, a community hospital in suburban West Houston; Texas Children’s Hospital The Woodlands, the first hospital devoted to children’s care for communities north of Houston and Texas Children’s Hospital North Austin, the new state-of-the-art facility providing world-class pediatric and maternal care to Austin families. The organization also created Texas Children’s Health Plan, the nation’s first HMO focused on children; Texas Children’s Pediatrics, the largest pediatric primary care network in the country; Texas Children’s Urgent Care clinics that specialize in after-hours care tailored specifically for children; and a global health program that is channeling care to children and women all over the world. Texas Children’s Hospital is affiliated with Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, visit www.texaschildrens.org.


Canine Companions is leading the service dog industry so our clients and their dogs can live with greater independence. Canine Companions provides service dogs to adults, children and veterans with disabilities and facility dogs to professionals working in healthcare, criminal justice and educational settings at no cost to clients. Established in 1975, Canine Companions has six regions across the country serving all 50 states. Learn more at canine.org.