Sometimes a dog is just what the doctor ordered - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Sometimes a dog is just what the doctor ordered

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - When a child is sick, it can be challenging to make them feel better, and even more so, make them smile. That's why Rady Children's Hospital has created a Canine Care Program.

Eight-year old Lindsay Parkes suffered a stroke that stifled her speech, but there's something about a Labradoodle jumping into her bed that makes her communication crystal clear. Lindsay's mom Ariane says her second grader's first choice on the road to recovery is dog therapy.

"Absolutely, I just see her light up and just connect with the dog, and I feel like she's getting so much care," Ariane said.

Thirty-three therapy dogs roam the halls at Rady Children's. All of the handlers are volunteers who aren't paid anything for their time.

"Just in smiles," dog owner Lara said.

Lara Schindler and Geoff Louis are husband and wife, and together with their dog Hops, they are the feel-good family, delivering joy from room to room.

"I love coming, it's probably the best part of my day," Lara said.

Get well cards, flowersand balloons are nice, but there's something about a dog that reminds a patient there's a life waiting for them outside of the hospital.

Fourteen-year-old Shelby Arroyo was enjoying her freshman year in high school with lots of friends And potential to play college softball. Suddenly, she's battling with leukemia with chemotherapy.

"It just makes me tired in a way, and it causes me to have nausea," Shelby said.

Which is why Shelby loves to shut it all off and run her fingers through the ultimate pillow pet.

"I just feel happy, I guess… especially when they're really cute," she said.

"The more we do this, the more we want to do this," Lara said.

Hopping from bed to bed, Hops has a way of making this hospital feel like home. After two surgeries, 9-year old Jiselle Garcia is about to head home, and the hope is that Lindsay Parkes will be right behind her.

"The minute he jumped in her bed, she just started giggling, just non-stop. I think it really helps make her day," Ariane said.

The canine therapy program at Rady Children's has a two-year waiting list. That means the hospital has too many volunteers and their dogs wanting to make children smile.

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