SAN ANTONIO -

The San Antonio Fire Department's mascot, Sparky the Fire Dog, brought a positive pick-me-up to young patients at the University Hospital's Pediatric Trauma and Burn Clinic on Tuesday morning. 

Many of the young patients are recovering from major trauma.

Curtis Hammonds, 11, nearly died from a horrific stabbing 3 1/2 months ago and was at the hospital for a follow-up visit. 

"They didn't expect him to walk out of the hospital, eat on his own (or) breathe on his own," said his grandmother, Susan Watson. "He spent two months in the hospital and he's been going through quite a bit of rehab."      

Seeing Sparky at the hospital made Curtis' day.

Although some children were afraid of the dog costume, there were plenty of smiles.

"If you see at least one kid smile and give Sparky a big hug, it's worth it to go to work," said San Antonio firefighter David Lopez. "That's why I haven't retired. It makes it still worthwhile coming into work every day, especially when you have these type of events."

IMAGES: New fire department mascot visits children's hospital

Published On: Aug 14 2012 02:10:36 PM CDT

It's not uncommon for therapy dogs to cheer up patients at hospitals, but dog costumes can be just as effective for children.

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