Canines comforting kids at Arkansas Children's Hospital

A special program at Arkansas Children's is providing much needed therapy for patients and their families.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - At Arkansas Children's Hospital, healing comes in many forms.

From swim therapy to music therapy, the hospital offers many services to comfort kids during their stay. One of those forms of therapy includes a wagging tail, wet snout and a whole lot of fur.

Maile is a trained therapy dog with the TAILS program at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. TAILS, (Therapeutic Animal Intervention Lifts Spirits) is a program that provides the patient therapeutic opportunities to interact with trained therapy dogs.

“She’s really laid back and she’s really enjoyed coming and I love it. It’s really fun,” said volunteer, Christy Stine.

Stine is Maile's owner and a pet therapist. She said there is no better place to be than with Maile walking through the halls of Arkansas Children's.

“Usually their eyes just light up and sometimes even though they aren't feeling very good, you can tell they will make a special effort to come over and sit by her and just be with her,” said Stine.

“It makes me feel really happy and it makes me feel like I’m at home,” said 12-year-old, Madalyn.

“When I’m sad she makes me feel happy again, said seven-year-old Gabby.

“Some kids that are hard to get to know or are hard to get motivated, we've been able to use our dogs to get kids up, talking, moving and it's a great emotional support for our patients while they are here in the hospital,” said Esther Pipkin, TAILS Coordinator.

Patients aren’t the only ones that benefit from the dogs.

“I think the staff even really enjoys having her, and their parents. A lot of times their parents will come and sit and talk to me and pet the dog so it’s been good for their families, too,” said Stine.

Arkansas Children's Hospital started the TAILS program in 2000 and has since helped other hospitals in the state adapt the program, including UAMS.

The Arkansas Heart Hospital is in the works of getting one established as well.

© 2017 KTHV-TV


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