Most kids experience bullying at some point in their formative years. For kids with cranio-facial conditions, it can be a living nightmare. These kids are often left shy and timid, but a special party thrown by The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and Penn Vet (the University of Pennsylvania’s school of veterinary medicine) is helping them connect with others. Specifically, dogs with similar conditions.
Most of these patients will experience dozens of surgeries by the time they reach young adulthood. The dogs in attendance at the Best Friends Bash have a range of disabilities, from missing limbs to cleft palates, and most have undergone similar surgeries.
It’s a joyful experience for these young people, and a way to feel less alone. The unconditional friendship with pups takes the therapy dog experience to the next level.
Head of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at Penn Vet, Dr. Alexander Reiter, said: “Each time this little dog would eat or drink something, the food would go in the nose.” Lentil’s corrective surgery inspired the doctors at CHOP and Penn Vet to connect humans and dogs with the same issues.
Fifteen-year-old Dan serves as a kind of elder statesman to the event. He’s gained lots of confidence through his multiple surgeries at CHOP, as well as his work with the event. Regarding the party, Dan says, “Open up, and realize you’re not alone, and just have a good time!” Check him out in the video below, and try not to tear up…
Children facing surgery can take comfort in knowing that dogs go through it, too! CHOP Clinical Psychologist, Leanne Magee, said, “It’s much easier to talk about a dog’s surgery than a kid’s surgery.”
Emma the Golden had a tumor removed from her face, which left her nose sagging, and her buddy Cyrus is a terrier mix who was born without his two front legs.
The third annual Best Friends Bash just passed, but to learn more about the shindig, check out the story here!