Meet Puggle and Huckleberry, the newest St. Jude Hospital ‘employees’

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (KKTV) - St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has some adorable new staff members on their team to help kids who receive treatment there.

These employees are not like the doctors, nurses, and researchers already on the St. Jude Campus. They walk on four legs, are covered in fur, and happily wag their tails for treats!

Meet Puggle, a golden, and Huckleberry, a goldendoodle.

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Puggle and Huckleberry are trained service dogs starting up the Paws and Play Program. They’re under 2 years old and started training before they were even a month old, which means they’ve been training their whole lives for this very important mission.

The team will help St. Jude patients handle the stress and hardship of their treatment by supporting them with things like MRIs, taking medications and physical therapy.

“I am most excited to see the powerful effect that a dog will have on our patients,” said child life specialist Brittany Reed. “We hope to provide emotional support and do things like motivating children to get out of bed and walk after surgeries or helping to prepare patients for surgeries by helping with non-sedated scans.”

Puggle and Huckleberry even have their own ID badges. This is the first time St. Jude has participated in service dog programming in the hospital. Because St. Jude patients often have weakened immune systems, departments teamed to create new policies for the program.

The dogs will see an average of four to six patients a day with plenty of rest breaks in between.

KKTV sister station, WMC5 in Memphis, reports there are already discussions about expanding the program to include even more adorable, highly trained pups.

To learn more about the Paws and Play Hospital Dog program, click here: stjude.org/paws-at-play

St. Jude has helped push up the childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. The daily operating cost of St. Jude is $2.2 million. St. Jude saves lives around the country – including here in Southern Colorado.

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