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Our family of care has grown! Find exceptional pediatric care right here in the greater Charlotte region, or learn more about our services in the Triad region of North Carolina and central and south Georgia.

Even with the support of your family and care team, being in the hospital can be tough, especially for kids. At Atrium Health Levine Children’s Hospital, we're proud to offer Happy2Heal, a program supported by PetSmart Charities that allows kids to interact with a registered pet therapy dog during their stay.

Pet therapy, also called Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), can provide optional fun, comfort and companionship, making the hospital feel a little more like home. Plus, our dogs at Levine Children’s Hospital are specially trained in caring for kids – tail-wags and cuddles included.

Benefits of pet therapy

Pets make everything better, including your health. In fact, pet therapy has been shown to help pediatric patients:

  • Reduce anxiety and stress
  • Lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase feelings of happiness, comfort, relaxation and confidence
  • Improve strength and mobility

Simply put, pet therapy provides patients – especially pediatric ones – with a dose of unconditional love that can bring some of the comfort of home into their hospital room.

Become a volunteer

Happy2Heal is made possible by the generosity of volunteers – both human and dog. Learn more about what’s required to become part of our pet therapy team.

Handler requirements

  • Be over 18 years of age
  • Be vaccinated against COVID-19
  • Complete Atrium Health Levine Children’s volunteer training
  • Register with Pet Partners or Alliance of Therapy Dogs
  • Complete the Happy2Heal orientation
  • Perform yearly re-evaluations with the registered therapy dog and a Happy2Heal coordinator

Dog requirements

  • Be at least 1 year of age or older
  • Provide current health evaluation by a licensed veterinarian
  • Be up to date with all vaccinations
  • Complete evaluation by Pet Partners or Alliance of Therapy Dogs
  • On monthly flea and tick regimen
  • Cannot be on a raw meat diet
  • Bathed 24 hours before scheduled visits
  • Free of any skin conditions or open wounds
  • Be on a leash and with the handler at all times
  • Cannot be the owner’s service dog

Meet our team of registered pet therapy dogs