Sign In

Therapy Dogs Help

July 22, 2020

When Kyle Hansen was undergoing chemotherapy at Children’s Wisconsin, therapy dogs were what made him feel better.

“It was always the best part,” said Kyle, 16, of Wauwatosa.

“He would go from just looking miserable to his face lighting up with joy,” said Michelle Hansen, Kyle’s mom.

After being diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma in June 2019, Hansen was told he was eligible for a Make-A-Wish.

His wish was for his family’s 2-year-old standard poodle, Copper, to become a therapy dog.

“It’s a perfect wish for him,” Michelle said.

The Make-A-Wish team got Copper into therapy dog classes, Kyle said, and had a trainer visit his home. Now Copper is just waiting to get certified.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Kyle said. “Now, I can take my therapy dog in (to the hospital) and see more kids.”

Make-A-Wish is also granting Kyle a private shopping spree for Copper at Bark N Scratch Outpost in Milwaukee on July 23.

To give back to the organization, Kyle raised more than $2,800 for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin’s Walk For Wishes last year. He plans to do it again this year. The event will be virtual, from Aug. 22-29.

Since the founding of Wisconsin’s Make-A-Wish chapter in 1984, more than 7,100 Wisconsin families have experienced wishes, according to the organization. Besides hanging out with Copper, Kyle enjoys being on Wauwatosa East’s chess team, participating in Boy Scouts of America, and playing volleyball on the Saint Sebastian Catholic Church team.

Towards the end of Hansen’s sophomore year at Wauwatosa East, he was having trouble breathing while walking around school.

When he went to the doctor, an X-ray revealed a large mass in his chest.

After a biopsy was taken, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

He underwent five cycles of chemotherapy treatment, each three weeks long, from July through October 2019 at Children’s Wisconsin’s MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.

By the second round, the cancer was gone, Kyle said. The three additional cycles were to make sure of that.

“Relieved” is how Kyle and Michelle said they both feel.

“Our family is all too familiar with cancer,” Michelle said.

Her father had three primary cancers, she said, and she had a superficial skin cancer removed about five years ago.

Register your Dog Schedule a Visit

  • Recent News

    Pet Therapy Program

    Saturday, October 10 is World Mental Health Day, which this year has a new sense of urgency for many. Covid-19 has taken a mental and emotional toll on healthcare workers across the U.S but there is a program boosting the spirits of doctors and nurses on the frontlines. At UC Irvine Medical Center in Southern […]

    Read more

    AMR Therapy Dog

    Rampart, a therapy dog with American Medical Response San Bernardino County, recently passed his Certified Therapy Dog exam. AMR acquired Rampart, a 1½-year-old goldendoodle, when he was 10 weeks old. Rampart started basic obedience classes when he was 4 months old and continued through advanced obedience classes, according to a news release. When he was […]

    Read more

    Workers Get Canine Interactions

    It was a long, boring spring and summer for the four-footed members of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, who couldn’t visit nursing homes and hospitals giving tail wags and doggy smiles. The coronavirus paused the professional canine therapeutic interactions with patients and hospital workers. “You could actually see him falling into a depression at home,” said Wendy Kadish of […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Program

    An initiative by Cyndy Caravelis, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Western Carolina University, will include a pilot program to use a therapy dog to aid domestic violence victims and their families in Jackson County. Caravelis’ German shepherd Atlas will escort victims and family members into court procedures and stay with children while […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogs Working With Staff

    After a pause due to COVID-19, the St. John Ambulance Abbotsford therapy dog team recently returned to visit staff at several different correctional facilities in the Fraser Valley. The PAWS inside program originally began at the Alouette Correctional Centre for Women five years ago and started off by providing services to inmates. Last year, the […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Bringing Comfort

    The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has a special K-9 who plays an important role. While most K-9s help in crime scenes and investigations, Comfort Caj is crime therapy dog and brings smiles to the community and the sheriff’s office. “He really brings a light and energy to this whole building, that you can’t fathom, you […]

    Read more

    Montgomery County's Therapy Dog

    Montgomery County has a new tool to help give crime victims some support. That tool’s name is Zurg. Zurg is the new therapy dog for the Montgomery County district attorney’s office. Montgomery County District Attorney Daryl Bailey introduced Zurg as the newest member of the team Monday. Coming from Canine Companions for Independence, Zurg will […]

    Read more