Children’s of Alabama Announces New Animal Assisted Program

Children’s of Alabama is introducing PetsRX to help patients navigate their health journey. PetsRX is an animal-assisted program that includes the hospital’s first medical dog.

Wanda, the medical dog:

Thanks to a sponsorship from Nucor Steel, Wanda is one of Children’s of Alabama’s newest employees. She is a 2-year-old golden retriever. Wanda began her training at only a few days old at Canine Assistants, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating and training hospital service dogs. Combined with the expertise of her handlers and Child Life Specialists, Wanda helps patients through goal-directed interventions. She helps patients cope, heal and achieve treatment goals at the hospital.

In addition to our medical dog, PetsRX also consists of three other animal-assisted programs, which include Hand-in-Paw. Hand-in-Paw is a long-time beloved partner of Children’s of Alabama. Teams visit the hospital often and help make the hospital feel more comfortable for patients away from their pets. Children’s also utilizes the P.U.P.S. (Poodles Unleashing Pawsome Smiles) Program at Children’s South. Shelby and Foster are poodles who are trained to work in therapeutic settings.  The CHIPS (Children’s Hospital Intervention and Prevention Services) Center also works with service-trained facility dogs through the Hero Program with the Office of Prosecution Services. The CHIPS Center uses this program to help in the healing journey for suspected victims of child abuse.

For more information about the PetsRX program, click here.

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