Lotus is the newest Children’t Healthcare of Atlanta Canine for Kids program. CONTRIBUTED

Children’s hospital introduces newest facility dog

There’s a new pup in the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Canine For Kids program, according to press release.

Lotus, an 18-month-old chocolate lab/golden retriever mix had her first day on the job on Monday, Sept. 17. Lotus will be working with her handler, chaplain Michael Fogas, at Scottish Rite hospital as the first dog in the program specifically for staff support. She’s had a busy week and a doggone good time, already attending a PICU Nursing Resilience Training and a Nursing Research Symposium.

The Canines For Kids program now has 17 total facility dogs working across the Children’s System.

  • Some facts about the program:
  • Canines For Kids is a unique animal-assisted therapy program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta that is entirely donor funded. It was the first of its kind and has been replicated in more than 20 other pediatric or medical institutions across the U.S. to date.
  • Each facility dog works with healthcare providers to: help minimize the stress of the hospital environment, support the overall social, physical and emotional development of the patient, reduce anxiety, provide distraction from illness and hospitalization, motivate patients, help patients overcome the loss associated with being separated from their own pets and offer the patient unconditional love and acceptance.
  • These highly trained facility dogs are from Canine Assistants, a national organization with an office in Milton, who raise and train service dogs from physical disabilities and other special needs. Potential service dogs undergo 18 months of training, learning to remain calm in various situations while focusing their attention on their handlers.
  • Collectively, the 17 dogs see hundreds of patients and staff members each day.

Follow along with all of the Children’s dogs’ adventures on the CHOA Instagram page: [instagram.com/therapydogsofchoa]@therapydogsofchoa

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