Caring Canines: Dogs To Aid Cancer Patient Recovery

Caring Canines: Dogs To Aid Cancer Patient Recovery

Alec the dog

Since 2007, our dedicated teams of therapy dogs and trained owners/handlers have been bringing comfort and cheer to patients, caregivers, and staff. Our teams visit more than 9,000 patients every year.

In 2023, the Caring Canines Program was awarded the Schwarzman Animal Medical Center Top Dog Hero Award.

Many people who spend time with our nurturing canines find a sense of peace, comfort, and much-needed distraction. Interacting with a dog can help:

  • Lessen your anxiety and distress
  • Support you emotionally
  • Make you feel more comfortable communicating with your healthcare team

With one of our animals to keep you company, you might also find yourself focusing less on your pain and feel more motivated as you work toward recovery.

Our Caring Canines at Work

Studies of animal-assisted therapy have shown that healthy and properly cared for dogs are not a health risk for hospitalized patients. Our Caring Canine teams adhere to strict guidelines. Handlers follow rigorous infection control procedures.

Before becoming a member of our team, handlers are interviewed and dogs are observed to ensure they are a good match for our patients.

Volunteers must be registered with a recognized therapy dog organization and complete in-house training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).

Schedule a Visit With a Therapy Dog

Our therapy dog teams are available for visits at these locations:

In addition to inpatient visits, our teams offer virtual visits for patients unable to have an in-person visit.

To learn more about the Caring Canines program or to request a visit, please contact:
Jane Kopelman at [email protected] or 646-899-2248. You can donate to the MSK Caring Canines Program here.