Dogs and cats are there for us in good times, but we tend to appreciate them even more during the bad times, when they offer their soft fur to pet and give us unconditional love. Kids who need extensive treatment in the hospital, however, often have to miss out on their family pets’ calming and playful presence (although many can still benefit from therapy dog visits). The newly opened Purina Family Pet Center at St.Louis Children’s Hospital was designed as a way for patients to unite with their beloved family pets in a safe, sanitary way during their hospital stay. The room, which will fit hospital beds and wheelchairs, is cleaned between visits to avoid potential allergies, infections, and other health concerns. The pets come and go from the pet center through a garage to minimize contact with other vulnerable patients and visitors. Being in the hospital can be a real drag even when it serves as an important step towards a healthy life, and having your favorite furry friend for a visit makes it feel a little more like home.
Lead image © Purina/Mary Butkus