Meet Posey, the hospital dog who's healing with a warm heart and cold nose.

When a child is in the hospital, sometimes a four-legged friend is exactly the comfort they need.

That’s the idea behind PAWS for RMHC, a facility dog program featuring Posey, a loveable yellow lab. PAWS was launched in May 2021 in partnership with our friends from Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and PetSmart Charities. Since then, Posey has already helped well over 1,000 children and their families at the hospital.

Posey provides an opportunity for the Child Life Specialists to build fast rapport with patients. Building trusting relationships with patients increases compliance, improves outcomes, and decreases stress and anxiety for the patient and family.

The Child Life team and all the physicians at RMHC aim to address the multitude of issues their patients go through while undergoing treatment. By building a strong foundation and becoming more approachable, families are more likely to express their feelings.

The ultimate outcome for a facility dog is an extension of this relationship. Patients look forward to seeing Child Life. They associate the team with play, laughter, non-medical personnel, and a safe person who will advocate for them. Illness often drives away some of the joy that children are known for, and Posey brings it right back!

Having a soft, lovable, furry companion makes visits even more desirable and will help the team develop a relationship quickly with the patients and families.

Young boy pets a yellow lab facility dog named Posey.
Impact in Action

Posey works with the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s Child Life team to make pediatric patients feel safe and loved. She makes a huge difference for kids and their families by providing an extra blanket of support.

Posey provides comfort to children in the hospital, but she does so much more than that.

Coping and Pain Management

If a child is in pain, anxious about a procedure, or is just having a hard time, Posey is by their side. Some patients pet her, some cuddle with her, and some just enjoy the distraction of having her nearby.

Procedure Preparation

Getting a shot or an IV can be scary for kids. But when Posey shows them how it’s done, it becomes much easier. By demonstrating procedures, Posey reduces fear and increases medication and treatment compliance.

Family Visits

Being in the hospital isn’t just hard on the patient—it’s hard on their entire family. Posey’s presence provides comfort and distraction for siblings, parents, caretakers, and other family members visiting the hospital.

Recovery Support

By encouraging children to get up and move around, Posey’s presence helps hospital staff facilitate patient recovery. There are even mailboxes throughout the hospital where patients can leave notes for Posey, encouraging ambulation and other critical pieces of post-procedure recovery.

Trained with a Purpose

Posey was trained at Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships.

Following nationally accepted best practices for Pet Therapy of service dogs, CCI dogs are expertly trained and partnered with a working professional in a health care, visitation, criminal justice, or education setting.

A legacy of love

PAWS for RMHC was the result of one incredible young woman’s profound vision. Kylie, a patient at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, was on her way to a career in human resources when her life was cruelly derailed by rhabdomyosarcoma. Though she was an adult at the time, this is a form of pediatric cancer, and the medical team at RMHC had the right expertise to treat it. She underwent grueling courses of chemotherapy and radiation and eventually the cancer went into remission, only to return a few months later.

When it relapsed, Kylie’s initial sadness and anger was channeled into something greater: the desire to leave behind a legacy of gratitude and love. She began a course of giving that lit a brilliant path for everyone she encountered.

Before she passed away on December 12, 2019, Kylie shared one final wish: to bring a facility dog to RMHC so that all the children who came after her had the special love, acceptance, and support that only a dog can provide. Inspired by this wish, we got to work making this program a reality.

Thanks to generous financial support from PetSmart Charities and contributions from Kylie’s friends and family and the community at large, Kylie’s dream is now a reality.




Make a PAWS-itive difference!

Help Posey continue her paw-sitive impact on children and their families! Your generosity will provide funds for direct animal care, pet supplies, and PAWS for RMHC materials.