Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital launches one of a kind animal-assisted therapy programme for children

Children’s Specialty Hospital

Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, the first and only specialised paediatric hospital in UAE, announced the launch of a one-of-a-kind animal-assisted therapy programme in collaboration with Reading Dogs, a programme of The Animal Agency, a UAE based organisation.

The programme, which will be piloted over three months, will see children treated at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital benefit from bespoke human-animal interaction therapy sessions with specially trained dogs.

The programme builds on human-animal therapy evidence that has been proven to decrease stress and depression by increasing the levels of feel-good chemicals, specifically, serotonin, oxytocin, and dopamine – in the brain, alongside enhancing relaxation, building trust and empathy and nurturing leadership.


Dr. Mohamed Al Awadhi, Chief Operating Officer at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital said, ‘‘Our world-class teams of highly qualified medical experts and paediatricians are setting new standards for paediatric healthcare excellence on a local and regional level. Our hospital is a place where SMART technology and design converge to enhance patient care and outcomes. The hospital also aims to foster clinical innovations, astute learning and development programmes and cutting-edge research facilities. Our innovative partnership with Reading Dogs is a natural extension of this.”
“We were delighted that children, parents, and staff enjoyed the first session, and we are looking forward for continuing to support our patients through offering comprehensive and pioneering treatments.‘’

Children’s Specialty Hospital

Karalynn Thomson, Founder of the Animal Agency and Reading Dogs further added ‘’ The launch of the one-of-a-kind dog-assisted therapy programme with Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital builds on the Hospital’s commitment to bringing innovative care to children. We look forward to supporting that mission and helping children on their recovery journeys. Animal-assisted therapy offers patients at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital positive human-animal interactions in a clinical setting, bringing emotional support at a vulnerable time. The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial relationship between people and animals that positively influences the health and well-being of both. Research, combined with human intuition, recognizes the impact the human-animal bond can have on health.”

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