The Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and Child Life Month by teaming up with the amazing team at BARK to honor the Dogs for Joy hospital partners and their “fur leaf clovers.” Thanks to BARK’S generosity, these lucky dogs received a St. Patrick’s Day themed BarkBox and will receive a free BarkBox each month for the next year. The pup’s handlers, who are Child Life Specialists, are also in luck! They received their own treats from Dunkin’ and the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. March is Child Life Month which celebrates Child Life Specialists who provide needed support for pediatric patients and their families.
Launched in 2018, the Dunkin’ Dogs for Joy program places highly specialized in-residence service dogs as full-time members of children’s hospital care teams. These dogs are an integral part of a patient’s treatment plan, trained to do tasks like teach kids how to take a pill, get an x-ray, keep a child calm during a medical intervention, provide incentives for a child to get out of bed for a walk, and much more.
To date, the Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation’s Dogs for Joy Program has granted 35 full-time pediatric service dogs to 24 children’s hospitals across the country. The dog and handler team serves as essential role within the hospital, both working 40-hour weeks caring for pediatric patients. The pup’s Child Life Specialist/handler will be able to customize the monthly BarkBox to the dog’s likes and preferences.
“We are lucky to have such incredible partners through our Dogs for Joy program that bring so much comfort to kids and caregivers. We were excited to team up with our friends at BARK to surprise our partners with a small token of our appreciation this St. Patrick’s Day,” said April McGonnigal, Director of Dunkin’ Joy in Childhood Foundation. “The team at BARK truly are the purfect pawtners, and we are so grateful for their generosity and willingness to help bring joy to kids and these incredible pups.”