Celebrating our therapy animals at Texas Children’s


Animal-Assisted Therapy | Texas Children's Hospital
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If you regularly find yourself roaming the halls of the hospital, you just might cross paths with Elsa, Bailey or Pinto – some of our most unique, dedicated (and furry) employees at Texas Children's Hospital. They’re all registered service dogs in Texas Children’s Pawsitive Play Program, which is designed to enhance the emotional well-being of our patients, families and staff through animal-assisted therapy.

Today, we’re honoring our four-legged partners and recognizing the incredible power behind animal-assisted therapy. Why? It’s National Animal Therapy Day!

Elsa, Bailey and Pinto work hard to provide positive, uplifting encounters to patients and families who need them the most. I’m Bailey’s handler, so I can easily attest to how impactful these dogs are for the hospital from firsthand experience with her.

Our dogs are bred and trained to serve in pediatric hospital settings, and they work full-time with our child life specialists to coordinate emotional support and therapeutic intervention across the hospital. They’ve actually been training for this for their entire lives! Each day, the dogs arrive at the hospital with their handlers and will begin visiting patients bright and early. For them, a normal day could involve bedside visits, therapy sessions, hospital events and much more!

If you’re lucky enough to watch these dogs in action, you can easily see how their greatest strength comes from an ability to provide a calm, normalized presence for patients who might be distressed by unfamiliar surroundings, a new diagnosis or even a particular procedure.

Elsa was our first service dog when we kicked off the Pawsitive Play Program in late 2016. We added Bailey and Pinto to the roster very recently, and they’re already hard at work making Texas Children’s a better place. There’s a lot of growth happening in our program, and we’re beyond excited to widen our ability to pawsitively impact more patients and families.

Elsa, Bailey and Pinto – THANK YOU! Let’s take a moment today to honor all of the therapy animals out there, along with their dedicated handlers.

If you’re interested in requesting a patient visit from one of our facility dogs, you can speak with your unit’s child life specialist to initiate a potential consult.

To learn more about animal-assisted therapy at Texas Children’s Hospital, click here.