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Dog parade! Riley celebrates National Therapy Animal Day

Posted at 8:09 PM, Apr 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-30 20:09:37-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Is there anything more guaranteed to bring smiles to people's faces than a dog parade? Probably not.

Riley Children's Health parents and staff got to experience a therapy dog parade Tuesday in honor of National Therapy Animal Day.

According to a release, the hospital is home to 19 therapy dog and volunteer pairs that bring comfort care to patients and families.

"There's nothing normal about being in a hospital, especially for children," Riley Children's Health child life specialist Kim Ziegler said. "Bringing dogs into clinical spaces at Riley Children's Health helps reduce stress and bring a sliver of familiarity into an otherwise foreign space."

Riley Children's Health's website says there is scientific research that confirms the positive effects pet therapy has on physical and mental health. Petting or playing with a dog causes oxytocin levels to rise, which can give children greater motivation to participate in treatment.