Sign In

Children’s Hospital add fourth therapy dog

April 2, 2020

Norton Children’s Hospital is getting another therapy dog.

Thanks to a $50,000 gift from PetSmart Charities, Norton Healthcare will add a fourth four-legged therapist to help young patients

Norton said research has shown that full-time facility therapy dogs provide emotional comfort to patients and help their physical recovery by encouraging them to get out of bed and walk or play.

“Facility therapy dogs not only offer comfort but provide children with an outlet to verbalize their fears,” said Heather Stohr, the hospital’s manager of child life therapy.

She also said that the hospital’s current K-9 crew is not nearly big enough.

“We currently have around 400 requests for therapy dog visits every month, yet our current three dogs can only see around 100 children a month,” Stohr said.

Norton said the dogs also are helping kids overcome their fear of dogs, and they’re also making workdays a little easier for hospital staff.

“The caregivers unfortunately have to deal with a lot of situations that are sad and even scary,” Stohr said. “A few minutes with a dog can help relieve stress or anxiety.”

Kelly Balthazor, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities, said, “Children and pets often share a special bond, and we’re happy to lend our support to this program that promotes the healing power of pets and provides a healthy diversion from the usual hospital routine.”

Norton Children’s Hospital is the area’s only full-service, free-standing pediatric hospital. It has 300 beds, is Louisville’s only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center and serves as the primary teaching facility of the University of Louisville School of Medicine. It cares for children “without regard to their families’ ability to pay,” Norton said.

Norton said the therapy dog program was established through a generous gift from the Independent Pilots Association Foundation and has since received support from other organizations, businesses and schools.

In total, Norton Healthcare’s Heel, Dog, Heal team consists of eight therapy dogs.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Stolen Puppy In Denver

    Police are looking for two teens who might have been involved.Meredith) — A couple in Denver is asking for the public’s help to find their dog after they say he was stolen at gunpoint. Loki was the perfect addition for Shawn Rozinski and his girlfriend. “He’s high energy, he’s very lovable, like he just loves […]

    Read more

    PTSD Service Dogs

    esearch has shown that support dogs can speed up recovery from PTSD. Yet the cost of purchasing a service animal can be out of reach for many veterans. KMOX News discovered one local group that provides support dogs at no charge. Nicole Lanahan sits on a chair and pretends to sob. “Recon,” a German Shepherd […]

    Read more

    ESA Boogs Helps Staff

    A Delaware Valley dog has joined his owner on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing joy and hope to vulnerable adults sheltering from exposure to the virus. For the past several weeks, Boogs, a black and white Shih Tzu, has been visiting residents of Divine Providence Village (DPV), an intermediate care facility (ICF) […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Brings Joy

    At Hoffmann Hospice, people receive end of life care and assistance in grieving loved ones who pass away. This is naturally a very emotional place to be, and one therapy dog is helping in such a wonderful way. In this week’s “Kern’s Kindness,” meet Bernie and his owner Molly Mier. “We adopted Bernie from a […]

    Read more

    Paws Of War

    War is hell. And puppies are swell. Take one-year-old Harley, who became best friend to a team of U.S. servicemen during their recent stint inside a Middle East combat zone. When Amjad Kerrish and his fellow Air National Guard fighters were shipping out, they were too enamored of Harley to leave the dog behind. But […]

    Read more

    Service Dogs

    September is National Service Dog Month and this week a veteran from Central Texas began training with his own new helper. Rhea Hambright and Beatrice are spending the week training at Service Dogs Incorporated in Dripping Springs. Hambright is a Marine and was injured during the Vietnam War. He and his new service dog are […]

    Read more