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Therapy dogs lead pajama parade inside Texas Children's Hospital

Four Golden Retrievers visited patients and their families as ambassadors of the hospital's animal therapy program.
Credit: Texas Children's Hospital

HOUSTON — Patients at Texas Children's Hospital were paid a special visit by some four-legged friends for the holidays.

Four Golden Retrievers and their handlers paraded around the hospital in matching red-and-black pajamas. Elsa, Pinto, Pluto and Bailey trotted around the facility to bring smiles to neurology and transplant patients and their families.

The dogs walked in one-by-one to each room and they left a holiday card for every patient.

The patients' parents say the dogs are a highlight and a positive distraction for them and their kids. One mother says her daughter was admitted after having a stroke and it meant a lot whenever they came to her room.

"I mean, it completely lights her up. She got the biggest smile. Since being here after her stroke, she hasn't had a lot of expressions," she said. "Yesterday, Pinto came in and she about jumped out of her bed, so it's amazing to see."

The four dogs are all ambassadors for the Texas Children's Pawsitive Play Program

They provide emotional support and comfort through animal-assisted therapy. Each one is specifically bred trained to work full-time as a service dog in a pediatric hospital, and they're with a handler at all times. The dogs usually stand alongside Texas Children's child life specialists and work with a team to provide therapy for children, families and staff.

Another mother said she and her daughter love animals, and the therapy dogs were a nice distraction from their hospital stay.

"It calms her down a lot, and I appreciate that," she said. "That's all she was talking about when they left."

The following video was uploaded on Oct 2016.