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Facility Dog Program

Litta, Dusty, Jellybean and Hunter.

Children's Mercy's facility dogs provide comfort, motivation and smiles to our patients and families. Our dogs are born and raised at a non-profit organization called Canine Assistants, Inc. in Milton, GA. Their special schooling and calming presence make them a paw-fect match for our program.

What do the facility dogs do?

Studies show that dogs can reduce stress and help people feel better. Spending time with a dog can help the hospital feel more like home. For some children, there's no better medicine than snuggling in bed with a warm fluffy friend.

The dogs spend their days helping patients reach goals. Each patient has their own set of goals that are related to why they are in the hospital. For example, one patient’s goal might be walking after surgery, while another patient’s goal might be working hard to feel less scared in the hospital.  

Outside of work, the dogs live with their primary handlers. When the dogs are not at the hospital, they relax and spend time with their families.

How can I meet a facility dog?

If you think your child would benefit from a facility dog visit, please contact a member of the Patient and Family Services Department. They will work with our facility dog handlers to assess your child’s need for a visit. Dogs at Children’s Mercy are popular pups, and while we do our best to meet all requests, we cannot promise a visit.

I want to learn more

The Children's Mercy Facility Dog Program is made possible by generous support from caring individuals, businesses and organizations. For more information about the Children's Mercy Facility Dog Program contact Melanie Musto at or (816) 234-3000, ext. 403741.

Meet our facility dogs


Hunter  (Golden Retriever)

Hunter was born Feb. 2, 2014 and he began working at Children's Mercy in June 2015. Hunter and his handler work at the Adele Hall Campus. 

For many years, he spent time supporting our Hematology/Oncology patients. Hunter now works part-time, primarily in the Center for Wellbeing, and with his secondary handler in the Kreamer Resource Center for Families.


Jellybean, a yellow Golden Retriever.

Jellybean was born Dec. 10, 2020, and she began working at Children's Mercy in October 2022. Jellybean and her handler are consult based and work all over the Adele Hall campus. Jellybean brings lots of smiles, comfort, and distraction to the patients and families she sees.

Jellybean also works with her secondary handlers, spending time with our inpatients on 5Sutherland and 5Henson Hall.


Litta wearing a big, pink bow around her neck. She is a chocolate Labrador Retriever.

Litta was born Aug 12, 2018, and she began working at Children's Mercy in October 2022. Litta and her handler focus most of their efforts with our cardiology patients admitted to the CICU and 4 Sutherland. Litta can often be seen with a big bright bow!

Litta also spends time with her secondary handler, working with patients in the Dialysis unit, Kidney Center, as well as the Behavioral Health population. 


Dusty was born on Nov 13, 2021, and she began working at Children's Mercy in October 2023. Dusty and her handler work together on 4Henson, specifically focusing on the Bone Marrow Transplant unit. Dusty brings lots of joy to the patients and families she sees!

Dusty also spends time with her secondary handlers in the Kreamer Resource Center for Families, as well as taking consults throughout the Adele Hall campus.


Six Adele Hall Children's Mercy staff members petting a beagle with the Pet Pals Program.

Pet Pals program

The Pet Pals program allows patients and staff members at both the Adele Hall campus and the Children’s Mercy Kansas location, the opportunity to interact with hospital volunteers and their trained and certified dogs. Does your dog have what it takes to be a Pet Pal?