CLEVELAND — All year long, the specially trained Pet Pals at University Hospitals help to bring joy and reduce stress in hospital patients. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic however, the Pet Pals haven't been able to visit their friends in the hospital.
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Instead, they've been staying in contact with patients, families and UH staff through photos and YouTube videos. According to University Hospitals, service animals like the Pet Pals can help children and adults in many ways. They can provide a source of healing touch, help reduce stress, promote healing, lower blood pressure, and lift spirits.
That last one is especially important during the holiday season. So to help spread cheer, the Pet Pals dressed up to wish everyone happy holidays on their YouTube page:
The Pet Pals program includes more than 100 specially trained dogs of all different breeds, and one cat (You can check out Pearl around the two minute mark in the video above). They clearly weren't going to let the pandemic stop them from spreading joy this season.
All of the animals involved in the Pets Pal program are certified therapy animals, and have undergone veterinarian exams and behavioral evaluations. You can learn more about the Pet Pals program, including requirements for new volunteers and their pets, on University Hospitals' website.