Healing Paws - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Healing Paws

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WSVN -- This spunky Dachshund named Wilson gets a lot of attention wherever his owner takes him.

Michelle Sarason: "I take him with me around my neighborhood and people tell me he makes them feel good."

So Michelle Sarason decided to give her little dog a much bigger job. Wilson is now spreading his energy and love to sick kids at Miami Children's Hospital as part of their weekly Pet Therapy Program.

Michelle Sarason: "When you see the children and the smile on their face, and even though it's two, three minutes, I think it's great for them. Brings some normalcy to their day."

Several times a week dogs like Wilson go room to room visiting with the kids and their families. The kids can pet them, play with them or just get a friendly kiss. Many of these children are facing scary, adult words.

Diego Lazcano: "They've been testing me for a bunch of things. Cancer, leukemia, lupus."

Some have been in the hospital for weeks or even months like 3-year-old Melanie who is recovering from a rare condition.

Omar Artigas: "It's been tough lately, she's been through a lot."

But once Wilson comes through the door, all the bad stuff fades away.

Omar Artigas: "She was down, she didn't want to eat. Now, look at her, she got up, she's talking about the dog."

The kids even get to keep a picture of the dog who visited them. For 13-year-old Diego a visit by a Golden Retriever helps him remember his life at home.

Diego Lazcano: "I have a Golden Retriever myself and it was just awesome, cause it's kind of lonely here."

Loneliness is nothing a little love from a service dog can't solve.

Diego Lazcano: "I petted her. I had a ball from my dog here, she took it. She kept on licking me It just meant a lot."

The dogs seem to enjoy volunteering too.

Michelle Sarason: "He loves attention. He loves meeting people, he loves everybody."

And usually, all that love leaves these children begging for more.

Leiley Chi: "What did you tell me after you saw Wilson, that you wanted to do? That you wanted to keep it? Keep it."

Omar Artigas: "Remember daddy promised to get you a dog?"

A promise we hope he kept.

Diana Diaz: "To be a part of the program, you and your dog have to go through rigorous screenings and training."

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