Oliver a Canine getting petted by children

Canine Kindness

We know that pet owners understand the joy and happiness that a pet can bring. Animal companionship not only improves our health, it elevates the quality of our entire lives. Children and adults facing acute or ongoing health conditions, coupled with the stress of prolonged time in the hospital, deserve emotional support beyond that which staff alone can provide. Dignity Health patients who receive a visit from one of our furry friends as part of the Canine Kindness program report that the visit brings a smile to their face, gives them more energy, and helps them feel more optimistic about their recovery. Nurses, doctors, and family members also recognize the many benefits of animal therapy.

Medical research clearly shows the positive impact on physical and mental health, including:

  • The release of endorphins - "feel-good" hormones - in the brain
  • Reduced blood pressureLower anxiety
  • Decreased physical pain
  • Better memory
  • Higher self-esteem and motivation
  • Greater willingness to engage in rehabilitative activities in patients with traumatic brain injury or stroke

Animal interaction has even been shown to have beneficial effects on the health and wellbeing of hospital caregivers who experience less stress after visits with canine companions. Dignity Health currently supports more than 150 canine-handler teams at 28 locations across our hospital system. With your help, we can reach even more people in need by expanding Canine Kindness to patients in all of our 39 hospitals. 

Fund managed by: Dignity Health Foundation 

I’ve seen for myself the effect that canine visits have on patients of all ages. Bringing a little bit of furry sunshine into a patient’s room makes the world of difference in their day and reduces their stress levels and heart rates, aiding in a speedier recovery. It’s wonderful to see that an animal you love can also bring a simple joy to others, including the staff. I’m happy to support canine kindness.

Linda Messitt

Make an impact!

Donations can be cash, credit, or through payroll deduction* if you are a Dignity Health employee.  For more information or questions, please email Christina Vanoverbeke or call 602.294.4183.

*Payroll deduction is for Dignity Health employees only.