Dogs Are Helping Children Get Through Cancer Treatment

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A young boy laughs at silly Lancelot.

Children admitted to an Ecuador hospital are all smiles, thanks to their weekly visitors.

Every Wednesday, Veronica Pardo brings her two pups, Lancelot and Juci, to visit children at the only hospital in Ecuador’s capital city that treats cancer.

Lancelot and Juci aren’t complaining either, they absolutely love all the excitement and attention from the children.

Pardo states that the dogs help to cheer up the children, especially those given a grim prognosis.

“Sometimes they do not want to eat, their moms haven’t visited them, they don’t want to take their medicine, or they don’t want to talk with the doctor,” Pardo said.

To the amazement of onlookers, a small miracle happens as soon as the dogs rush in to see the kids. Smiles are abundant across the room as the sick children pet and cuddle with the dogs.

“The children smile, talk. They’re infused with life.”

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Juci enjoys being cuddled by all the children.

A young girl named Dana, who was only 7-years-old, took a special liking to Lancelot, the 15-month-old American cocker spaniel. She passed away early this month.

“When she died, her parents told me: ‘You have no idea how my daughter had fun on Wednesdays,'” Pardo said.

Initially when Pardo began bringing the dogs in, back in 2005, the dogs were required to stay in the hospital garden. They played here with the children before they had their chemotherapy treatments.

The next five years proved the benefit the dogs could provide. Statistics from the hospital show that every Wednesday, fewer children were kept over due to complications with their chemotherapy. The young children’s adrenaline levels rose after playing with the dogs, which helped give a boost to their resistance to chemotherapy side effects.

This finding lead the hospital to allow Pardo to bring her dogs in to visit children in their beds.

A young 8-year-old boy, Edison, whose cancer is declining, is always delighted to see Juci. Juci is a 5-year-old Parson Russell terrier.

“He knows a lot about animals, because they live in the country,” Pardo said.