CHLA WALK LA! Please support our Dog Therapy Program!!
Many of you are aware that I have been volunteering with my dogs at CHLA for 15 years. April 10th of last year would have marked the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles Dog Therapy Programs streak of having at least one dog team on campus every day for five years straight. Needless to say, we came up short due to the Coronavirus pandemic. We did not let that stop us from visiting the patients and staff. Within hours of the stay at home orders going in place, our fearless leaders met with CHLA officials and set up means for our program of dedicated volunteers to continue to visit by virtual means. Patients get a personalized, one on one video call with a friendly, and sometimes familiar, CHLA therapy dog. They giggle, they chat, they ask questions or marvel at how cute the dog’s ears are. They wish they could feel their hands on the dogs’ fur, but they say it is still a great distraction during a very stressful time. It is not quite the same as being there in person, but it definitely helps with the morale of everyone we virtually visit.
More than 250 dog teams have played a role in the five years since this streak began, and together we’ve facilitated 67,288 personalized, one-one-one patient visits and a total of 368,341 interactions including family members, visitors, and staff, in the five years since our streak began. I am proud to have my dogs, past and present, included in these numbers. Last year Gordon, Willow and I logged 166 visits, exceeding the required 24 visits per year!
In 2019, the dogs and their humans visited an average of nearly 1300 patients every month, offering each child a personalized interaction at their bedside or during treatment or therapy. We also supported the entire community of people who take care of each patient, by interacting with an average of over 3000 family members and visitors each month, and an average of more than 2600 employees each month. Altogether for the year, we logged 95, 870 interactions – a new record!
I understand that we are going through unprecedented times and there are many charities and families in need of financial support at this time. If you are able, please consider donating to the CHLA Dog Therapy Program. Any amount will be infinitely appreciated by everyone in the CHLA Dog Therapy Program.
Hoping everyone is staying safe at home so we can get back to CHLA in person with our dogs. I know mine are missing their weekly visits to CHLA and the attention they receive when they are there.
Be safe, Dorothy