Paws4Patients

The Paws4Patients Facility Dog Program brings smiles, comfort and calm to Michigan Medicine patients and families.

About Us

Check out this video from Denver's first few months at Michigan Medicine!

We are proud to have five full-time hospital dogs on our team as part of the Paws4Patients Facility Dog Program, which launched in 2016.   

Our facility dogs, Denver, Anna, Bindi, Fawn, and Parker were trained by Canine Assistants to work in a hospital setting. They were specifically matched to Michigan Medicine based on our needs and the types of patients we care for.

While Denver, Bindi, Fawn, and Parker work “full-time” in Mott Children's Hospital, Anna shares her time between Mott and some of the adult inpatient units at Michigan Medicine. No matter where they are, all dogs are here to comfort patients and families through bedside visits, as well as motivate and assistance during certain types of therapy and rehabilitation. 

Our Team

Anna is the Paws4Patients Facility Dog with Spiritual Care.

Anna is part of the Spiritual Care team at Michigan Medicine. She loves supporting patients, families, and staff of all ages throughout the hospital, but spends a lot of her time in the Adult Palliative Care Program, and in the critical care and cardiovascular intensive care units. On her breaks, she loves napping with her stuffed animals and visiting the chipmunks and squirrels around the hospital grounds. She is known for being petite, strong-willed, and giving the best hugs. Anna is handled by Rev. Dr. Christina Wright, Lori-Jene Brazier, Rabbi Sara Adler, and Fr. Lewis Eberhart, chaplains in the Spiritual Care department. 

Bindi is the Paws4Patients Facility Dog for the Mott Family Center.

Bindi is part of the Wayne and Shelly Jones Family Center team in Mott Children's Hospital. The Family Center is a place for patients and families to relax, find information, attend classes and meet Bindi to receive the benefits of animal therapy. Bindi is sweet, patient and loves to be with people, especially children. Her favorite colors are maize and blue, and her favorite food is peanut butter. She is handled by Ann Hendrick,  Kate Hill, Anne Chen, Jennifer Hendricks, Lindsay Krzyzaniak, and Kara Slater.

Denver is the Paws4Patients Facility Dog for the pediatric intensive care unit.

Denver is part of the team in the Mott Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.  Denver is patient, gentle, and loves to hang out with patients and their families in the PICU. When he isn't at work, Denver loves going for walks on trails in the woods. His favorite movie is The Secret Life of Pets, and his favorite actor is Scooby Doo.  Denver is handled by Joel Maier, Michele Derheim, Bethany Petersen, Lena Arend, and Shae Maier.

Fawn is the hospital dog working with the Stepping Stones Pediatric Palliative Care Program.

Fawn is part of the Stepping Stones Pediatric Palliative Care Program team at Mott Children's Hospital.  Fawn is super smart, sweet, and silly, and loves coming to work every day to help care for patients with serious illness and their families. When she isn't at work, Fawn loves watching ducks and playing fetch with her friends. Her favorite show is Paw Patrol.  Fawn is handled by Rachel Brownson, Elizabeth Goudie, Dr. Tricia Keefer, and Erinn Louttit.

Parker - Paws4Patients Facility Dog

Parker is part of the team in the Nyman Family Unit for Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Wellness at Mott Children's Hospital. Parker is a big goofball, and loves to greet everyone he sees and get lots of love from patients and staff. When he isn't at work, Parker loves running around outside. He especially loves the cooler Michigan weather, despite spending his first 1.5 years in the Georgia heat! Parker is handled by Corey Patterson, Jeanette Hokett, and Stevi Brewbaker.

Safety and Infection Control

Denver the dog gets a bath from his groomer.
Our dogs are groomed regularly for safety and infection control, and they love bath day!

Our dog handlers always get permission before a dog enters a patient’s room. To further protect the health of our patients, dogs are unable to visit patients who are under contact precautions.  Dogs are bathed and groomed on regular schedules and handlers follow strict hygiene and maintenance standards.  Everyone who pets the dogs should cleanse their hands before and after to limit the spread of germs.

If you are uncomfortable around dogs or allergic to them, please let the dog’s handler or one of your caregivers know.

Therapaws

In addition to our hospital dog program, Michigan Medicine hosts visits from Therapaws of Michigan. Therapaws volunteers (owner and dog) are matched with units and visit patients during regularly scheduled visits arranged by Therapaws and Volunteer Services. Special requests for dog visits can be accommodated if a Therapaws team is available outside regularly scheduled visits.  If you or your loved one is interested in a visit by a Therapaws dog, please let your care team know.

Service Animals at Michigan Medicine

Michigan Medicine is committed to ensuring equal access for all those in the community. To learn more about Michigan Medicine's policy on service animals, you can click this link to read a Headlines article with helpful information. If you have any questions or concerns about how to handle service animals or other civil rights issues, please contact the Patient Civil Rights Coordinator at 734-936-6439 or email MichMed_patients_rights@med.umich.edu.

Supporting Paws4Patients

Paws4Patients is made possible only through the generosity of donors. These contributions support our current dogs for years to come, and will help us continue to grow the program for the future.

Contact Us

Kate Balzer, LMSW

Paws4Patients Program Manager
Office of Patient Experience