As a school counselor, I brought my therapy dog to work with me and saw the tremendous impact that KoKo had on the students I worked with. Inclusion is very important and there were those children that for cultural reasons, fear of dogs, or allergies felt left out, so I partnered with guinea pigs and started visiting with them at a hospital for children.

Never underestimate the impact of one of the smallest therapy animals!  I learned that lesson during Bonita and Chiquita’s first visit to the hospital. The child life specialist laid a clean towel on the bed opposite the side of a very painful procedure the patient was going to be undergoing again, as it was done daily. Bonita has a bad hair day every day, so the child was having fun brushing her, then delighted in seeing her eagerly gobble down veggie treats. Apparently, it was the first time the child hadn’t cried and yelled in pain during the procedure. In fact, it was quite the opposite as the child giggled everytime Bonita ate a carrot. It is amazing what “critter power” can do!

Story provided by Patti Anderson