Pets give children comfort as they spend time in Children's Hospital

Vet takes pets to visit children in the hospital

AURORA, Colo. - When children are in the hospital, many of them have a common request. Aside from wanting to go home, they want a visit from a pet.

7Everyday Hero Dr. Sara Mark makes sure those visits happens at Children's Hospital in Aurora.

"It is the Prescription Pet Program," said Mark.

The program has been around since the 1980's. One of those helping guide the program is volunteer Dr. Mark.

"We do both animal assisted therapy, true therapy, as well as visitations," said Mark.

Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. Her experience is perfect for Children's Hospital because she can help with and advise the volunteers who make pet visits.

"I would say the smallest dog we ever had was 4-pounds and the biggest was 165," said Mark.

Children love the distraction and attention the pets bring to their hospital stays. Parents love the comfort the pets provide.

"Just the healing nature of animals is a great thing to bring them to kids.  I value that.  As a mom I think it is great," said Laura, mother of a young patient.

"The smile on their face is incredible. In fact, it is sometimes the only time the kids smile, when they are having a really bad day it can change everything for them," said Susan Dolan, Epidemiologist.

"Everyone's blood pressure goes down and they take a nice, deep breath.  It is great," said Mark.

The pet visits might not happen if not for dedicated volunteers like Dr. Sara Mark, who have given years of their own time to help others.

"It always seems on the outside an altruistic thing to do but when you are giving away a part of yourself like that you cannot put a dollar sign to that," said Mark.

To learn more about volunteering at Children's Hospital, go to www.childrenscolorado.org

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