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The dog therapy program at the Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles has been successful since its inception. And the animals do this by helping patients go through their sickness by providing them a home-like environment free from stress. Not only that, but their influence is also immeasurable because they help provide emotional support by increasing the patient’s confidence and motivation to recover.

However, to adhere to the strict guidelines in keeping the COVID-19 at bay, the program had to be stopped. Well, at least physically.

The organizers of the service, thankfully, have found a work-around the social distancing rules. The dog therapy program has managed to adapt to the changing times by visiting patients, families, and staff with the help of a computer screen.


There have been questions raised at what they should do with the usual interactions like scratching behind the ears of the dogs or belly rubbing. This is the sad trade-off of virtual therapy, but patients can always see the relaxed canine’s face on the screen. The dog owner will just have to do all the loving scratches and belly rubs for now.

According to Kate Buhrmaster, program manager, their CHLA community was anxious about the changes in providing their service. But thanks to innovation, they are able to give almost the same service that is equally meaningful. Buhrmaster adds that the dog therapy program is akin to the hospital’s comfort food. And that they are a familiar member of the CHLA community.

Despite the restrictions and the challenges that come with delivering their therapy, the program strives to provide their service because they believe that without a dog, it’s a sad day for their patients at CHLA. And even though only 60 of the 127 four-legged therapists have continued with the treatment plan via a computer screen, nevertheless, people who have used the service are quite satisfied with these socially distanced visits.


Source: childrensla via Instagram

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