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The Canines for Coping facility dog program provides joy and emotional support to pediatric and adult patients at Huntsville Hospital for Women & Children, Huntsville Hospital, and Madison Hospital. Our dogs' world-class training combines with the expertise of their handlers to help patients cope, heal and achieve treatment goals

Canines for Coping was the first hospital facility dog program in Alabama, and is 100% funded by our community through donations to Huntsville Hospital Foundation.

Meet the team!

Asteroid, Orbit, Apple, Vivian and Paxton are the five lovable pups that make up the Huntsville Hospital Foundation-funded Canines for Coping program. Each dog is a full-time hospital employee – complete with an employee badge and business card! They work in the hospital with their handlers 40 hours per week, with time allowed for downtime, naps and walks. Because they are professionally trained service dogs, they are able to provide services based on medical goals, can be present during procedures and can assist with bereavement. 

Follow their adventures on Instagram at @HH_CaninesforCoping!

It’s about more than snuggles …

The Canines for Coping facility dog handlers are highly trained in their respective fields, including Certified Child Life Specialists and a Licensed Master of Social Work. Their expertise combines with their dog's training to accomplish truly inspiring and evidence-based results for patient's and their families, including:

  • Improved psychosocial functioning and mood

  • Increased healing, relaxation and self-confidence

  • Decreased anxiety and perception of pain

  • Reduced blood pressure and heart rate

Canines for Coping is possible thanks to donors like you!

Your gift will help other patients have access to the special care and joy these dogs provide. Pet Pals receive:

  • Quarterly e-newsletter

  • Early access to merchandise sales

  • Invitation to an exclusive annual meet & greet 

  • Opportunity to send letters to the dogs

Thank you, Window World of Huntsville, for supporting Canines for Coping at Madison Hospital!

NEW! Honor a furry friend through a special memorial tribute gift.

Honor the life of a beloved pet and a tribute card will be sent to the family/pet owner. You will also receive a special thank-you card from our Canines for Coping pups! 100% of each gift benefits the special work of Asteroid, Orbit, Vivian and Apple. 

Areas currently served

Our facility dogs and their handlers work with the multidisciplinary team to meet medical goals and provide therapeutic interventions to promote positive coping.

  • Pediatric Radiology
  • Pediatric Surgery
  • Outpatient Pediatric Therapy
  • Antepartum
  • General Pediatrics
  • St. Jude Affiliate Clinic
  • Pediatric Emergency Department
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
  • Palliative Care
  • Inpatient Hospice
  • Madison Hospital
  • HH Health Staff support