New service connecting sick children in hospital with their beloved pets
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Cian’s Kennels dog visiting facility in Children’s Health Ireland (CHI) at Crumlin is now complete and ready for patients to welcome their own dog while they receive treatment at the hospital. A partnership with nearby DSPCA means that dogs will be kennelled safely on the grounds of the hospital, allowing easy transport for patients to and from wards for visits, with a team of volunteer drivers, veterinary surgeons and co-ordinators in place to provide the service.
‘Cian’s Kennels*,’ is a charity that was set up by Cian’s parents Evelyn and Enda Neary from Longford following the loss of their son Cian to cancer. The development of this unique patient experience has been made possible with the help of Cian’s Kennels Board of Directors, volunteers, sponsors and many fundraising events, and makes it possible for families to unite their dogs with children staying in hospital.
“Our world fell apart when Cian was diagnosed with Hepatosplenic T-cell Lymphoma in September 2018,” says Cian’s mum, Evelyn. “His greatest love was animals, and his dog Cooper not only had a hugely positive impact on his stay while in the hospital, but also acted as the catalyst for what is now a fantastic addition here at CHI at Crumlin. As a family, we pledged to honour Cian’s memory by bringing dogs closer to sick children, and with the wonderful assistance of CHI staff, our Directors, friends and many sponsors, the pledge we made is finally a reality.”
Eilísh Hardiman, Chief Executive Children’s Health Ireland, said; “Holistic care for children and young people is vitally important and means a child’s experience is more than their clinical care in CHI. We are lucky to be able to offer this service to patients because of Cian’s Kennels and their supporters. Children are resilient, but some of our patients can be with us a long time and being able to unite pets with these children will mean the world to them and their families. To see a smile on a child’s face is priceless, and that’s what this service brings to our patients.”
Phase 1 works for construction of the kennels began in January 2022, taking four months to complete. The kennels will be managed on the grounds of CHI at Crumlin by Cian’s Kennels and DSPCA and patients and families will be able book their dogs into the kennels with support from their clinical team, in the coming weeks.