CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Patients, their families and hospital staff met on Wednesday morning at the Medical University of South Carolina to hear two new service dogs being given to the facility.
Representatives from the Joy in Childhood Foundation, powered by Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, announced they are donating the service dogs through the Dogs for Joy program.
“Nothing’s better than bringing a sense of normalcy to a child’s life who is in the children’s hospital," CEO of Coastal Franchising Dunkin’ Donuts LLC George Ross said. “This program is a unique way to bring some comfort and joy to kids that certainly could use a little bit.”
The dogs coming to MUSC are still in training, but some therapy dogs were there at the event so kids can get excited. MUSC has worked with dozens of therapy dogs over the last several years.
“We have found that these are truly dogs for joy. In-residence service dogs serve as ‘therapeutic agents’ and help maintain a positive outlook during a hospital stay,” Executive Director of Nursing for Children’s and Women’s Services at MUSC, Carolyn Donohue, said.
The dogs will come from a grant program and work 40 hours a week with pediatric patients.
Seven-year-old, Josiah Washington, and his mother were at Wednesday’s event because they have enjoyed working with therapy dogs at MUSC. Washington had to get a liver transplant early in life and was diagnosed with lymphoma.
“We’ve been enjoying our time here. It’s been hard, but I’ve been making the best of it," his mother, Latasha Washington, said. "The dogs have been awesome. He likes to see them and they come around and pet them, and they give us pictures, and talk to us, and tell us what the dogs like to do and tricks... he likes the dogs too. I think the dogs are great for the kids.”
Washington said they found out on July 31 that Josiah is cancer free.
The new therapy dogs are expected to arrive at MUSC in January 2020. To learn more about the Dogs for Joy program, click here.