Just in time for the holiday season, restaurant chains Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins have announced their newest initiative in spreading joy to children across the country. The two companies already power the independent charitable organization called The Joy in Childhood Foundation, and their newest endeavor focuses on bringing smiles and laughter to children’s hospitals nationwide.
The program is called Dogs for Joy, and it’s going to provide full-time therapy dogs to patients, families, and staff at many of the country’s children’s hospitals.
While therapy dogs are a relatively common sight in hospitals, very few hospitals have in-house programs where the dogs do more than visit patients a few days a week. With over 2 million dollars in grant money, Dogs for Joy will help children’s hospitals set up programs for in-residence therapy dogs.
These “facility dogs” will be trained and cared for in the same hospitals where they visit patients. The money will go toward investing in therapy dog training, staff training, and all the food, toys, and supplies the dogs will need. The goal is to get as many therapy dogs into full-time employment as possible.
As the concept of inviting therapy dogs into hospitals takes hold, more healthcare officials are recognizing the special breed of healing only dogs can provide. Simply patting a trained therapy dog’s head can reduce stress and make a scared child feel calm and happy. Therapy dogs provide comfort during necessary medical procedures, and they can even demonstrate to children how to take pills or put on a hospital gown. They nuzzle with worried family members, wag their tails for tired staff, and bring a general sense of love and acceptance everywhere they go.
Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital in Ohio will be the first to receive a Dogs of Joy grant of $150,000. They plan on putting the money to good use by funding a brand new program and welcoming two therapy dogs into full-time employment. Careful planning has gone into making sure the program will be successful. The dogs will take turns visiting patients and attending events, and specially trained staff will ensure the four-legged coworkers also receive the best possible care.
Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins are determined to make full-time therapy dogs a reality for as many children’s hospitals as they can. They’re encouraging hospitals to apply for a grant on the foundation’s website. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2019. In the meantime, several new therapy dog programs will be standing up early next year, and we can’t wait to see what kind of impact they’ll make on millions of children and their families.
h/t: PR NewsWire
Featured image via Facebook/The Joy in Childhood