Dogs Show Children It Is "OK to Be Different"

Dogs Show Children It Is "OK to Be Different"


Some special dogs with facial conditions were used to help children who are fighting their own battles and teach them one very important lesson; there is nothing wrong with being different.

Doctors and Veterinarians of the University of Pennsylvania organized the "Best Friends Bash" on July 22nd for children of the hospital who have been getting different kind of surgery's for craniofacial conditions, such as cleft palate. Many of the special dogs who came to visit that day had very similar problems.

Cyrus, a small mixed breed dog born with no front legs, made his way around the room with his custom made set of wheels. He greeted everyone who came up to him, unaware of their facial anomalies which might make a human stare.

"Because he's different and because it's obvious that he also has some challenges that he had to overcome, the kids are drawn to him," said one of the owners. "I also take him to the Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital where he meets a lot of amputees. They also connect with him in a special way."

Meeting with these animals who all have their different problems seemed to be exactly what the children needed. One child, who was born with a bilateral cleft clip and had already undergone three surgeries, was inspired by the animals. "She sees it's OK to be different and that even animals can have similar problems. It makes her more comfortable," her mother said.

These events are not only great for the children, but for the animals as well. Many commented that the dogs seemed to know exactly why they were at the hospital and what they were doing. Also, it was easy to see how much they were enjoying their time there with the children.

A story like this is a great reminder of how therapeutic animals can be to humans in a time of need.


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