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

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  • Innovative programme to offer children treated at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital bespoke human-animal interaction therapy sessions, helping develop their wellbeing and build trust, empathy, and other attributes. 
  • Sessions to be piloted over a three-month period and will include reading and happiness inducing sessions with a number of qualified dogs.
  • Their world-class teams of highly qualified medical experts and paediatricians are setting new standards for paediatric healthcare excellence on a local and regional level.

Dubai, UAE:  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.‘’ 

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.”

About Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital:

Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital, the first and only paediatric hospital in the United Arab Emirates, caters for children and adolescents up to the age of 18 years. Inaugurated on November 1, 2016, Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital is an ultramodern hospital with world-class teams of highly qualified healthcare experts that employs smart technology designed to enhance patient care and outcomes. The hospital also aims to foster clinical innovations, astute learning, and development programs, and hosts cutting-edge research facilities. It is a 200-bed facility in a child and family friendly environment.

About Reading Dogs:

Reading dogs is a UAE based human-animal assisted intervention programme, part of The Animal Agency, which is a full member of the International Association of Human-Animal Assisted Interaction Organisation. Reading Dogs offers partners reading and one-to-one happiness sessions with a number of dogs to build trust, empathy and increase levels of feel-good chemicals including serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Each sessions helps further helps children develop their social skills by nurturing leadership, empathy, kindness and boosting their confidence.