Hospital Dogs

Hospital dog Agnes with a patient

Learn how our hospital dogs help patients and staff through individualized therapeutic interactions.

MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital has specially educated hospital dogs from Canine Assistants, a nonprofit in Milton, Georgia.

Hospital Dogs work alongside a hospital employee to provide individualized therapeutic interactions for patients, families and staff as part of the healthcare team.

Hospital Dogs can be part of a patient's personalized treatment or recovery plan, helping to address specific goals. They can normalize hospitalizations while providing emotional support, play and comfort.

They help patients cope during stressful procedures by helping to lower anxiety, blood pressure and increasing compliance.

They also provide support to our medical team by boosting morale and helping carry the emotional burden they experience daily.

Hospital Dogs are available to take a limited number of referrals after an appropriate assessment has been made.

Reasons to see a hospital dog may include:

  • Ease introduction to hospital and treatment, following a new diagnosis
  • Extensive hospital stay
  • Assistance with pain management
  • Procedural support and other stressful medical events
  • Clinic appointments that are stressful or require support
  • Coping with a traumatic event
  • Support for a family during stressful communication
  • Motivation to be more mobile

Please keep in mind that Hospital Dogs may not be available upon request. Please do not promise your child a visit from a Hospital Dog. We do our best to prioritize and see patients according to therapeutic need. Please email if you would like more information or to request a specific visit for your child.

The love of a dog is cherished by many patients and families. The dogs in our MUSC Volunteer Pet Therapy Program are available to provide affection and comfort, so feel free to request a visit by contacting Cathy Bennett, Therapy Animal Program Coordinator, at 843-792-7360 or through the Get Well Network.

Meet the Dogs


MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children's Hospital Dog, Zelda.

Zelda is the newest member of the Hospital Dog Team. She joined MUSC in June 2023. She is a young black golden retriever/lab mix named after the iconic Legend of Zelda game. She works in the MUSC Foster Care Clinic during medical visits and therapy sessions. Despite her laid-back personality, she is always hard at work sharing her love with the kids, foster parents and medical team.


MUSC Kids Hospital Dog, Cher.

Cher joined MUSC in November 2022. She is a young golden doodle who was born to a small litter of two puppies, Sonny and Cher. She works alongside a dietician with our Cancer and Blood Disorders team to help children face food-related challenges.


MUSC Kids Hospital Dog, Baskin.

Baskin is large golden retriever who started our program in September 2020. He originally worked with the Child Life team on our Acute Care Inpatient Unit, and is now primarily focused on supporting our wonderful care team members. He makes sure everyone is checked on regularly and does not miss an opportunity to sniff out who has the treats.


MUSC Kids Hospital Dog, Agnes.

Agnes is a golden doodle who started our program with Baskin in September 2020. She worked with the Child Life team on the Cancer and Blood Disorders Unit and retired in June of 2022. You can still find her artwork floating around the hospital as she loved to leave her "paw" print for people to remember her.

How You Can Help

Interested in supporting our Hospital Dog Program?

Thanks to the generosity of the Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation and Hooked on Miracles, MUSC is able to support these dogs and their handlers.

Help us with our goal of raising two million dollars to create a designated fund that ensures these care team members can continue caring for patients and supports the potential for additional Hospital Dogs as new needs arise.

Donate to Paws4TheKids

For more information, please contact Barbara Rivers, director of development, at or 843-792-6643.