Puppy Love: Caring Canines Unleash Their Therapeutic Potential


Our therapy dog program, known as the Caring Canines, has been bringing smiles and comfort to patients and staff of Memorial Sloan Kettering for more than six years.

Interactions with therapy animals not only have the ability to ease feelings of anxiety and distress; they can help reduce the need for pain medication and offer a much-needed distraction for our patients. At Memorial Sloan Kettering, visits take place at the bedside or in lounge areas on regularly scheduled days of the week, and on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.

In 2012 and 2013, our team of nearly 20 therapy dogs visited approximately 6,350 patients — and, very likely, touched (and were touched by) many more during their walks through the halls of Memorial Hospital.

During visits to patients, the dogs and their handlers must follow strict hygiene standards set by the program and wear a Memorial Sloan Kettering ID badge. Posing for the annual Caring Canines wall calendar is optional but encouraged.

The 2014 calendar is now available to patients who schedule a visit with one of our four-legged friends. You can also get a copy for a small donation at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Gift Shop. All proceeds go to the Caring Canines Program.

We can’t get enough of these darling pups, so we figured what better gift to give our readers this season than a selection of our favorite photos from over the years?

Happy holidays, and enjoy!


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I met Oliver the bigger dog in the back of picture #4 when I was sick in the hospital last year. This program really helps! Its nice having some k9 company when you're sick and feeling alone in the hospital.

I met the big poodle a few days after my surgery , I was still in bad condition but I really appreciate it , it made me smile ,, thank you

Muchos saludos al DR. Larry Norton!!! le deseo una Felíz Navidad y gracias por seguir curando tantas mujeres como a mí!!

What a wonderful program! I first heard about it on tv 2/10 (last night) on the NY AKC Dog Show.
I love all the photos. My cat doesn't know that I am writing this. She would never understand.........
Another great idea, Memorial.

How could my puppy.and.I be part of the program. I'm 10-
Year breast cancer survivor,MSKCC former, Dr. Hudis' patient .

How can I help ,I had a double mastectomy and live on Long Island

An awesome healing program...

Many thanks to all the wonderful volunteers with the Caring Canines Team at MSKCC. I too had the great pleasure of spending some time with Oliver - what a sweetie! The doggie visits really helped me get through a tough time. I am now well and grateful for the love and support provided. Thank you!