Meet the new four-legged staff member at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio

Marcus is the first member of the hospital’s new PUPPYatrics Program

Marcus - the new facility dog and member of the PUPPYatrics Program at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.
Marcus - the new facility dog and member of the PUPPYatrics Program at Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. (Children’s Hospital of San Antonio)

SAN ANTONIO – Meet Marcus - the newest staff member of the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio.

He’s not your average front-line worker. He’s an adorable Labrador-Golden Retriever mix and the first member of the PUPPYatrics team in the hospital’s Child Life Department.

Marcus is a therapy dog who has been specially taught to have a calm disposition which allows him special access to patients in all areas of the hospital.

Marcus is considered a facility dog which means he provides emotional support and comfort to patients and their families to help cope with the stressors of hospitalization as well as helping to normalize the hospital environment.

“After months of preparation and training, we are thrilled to have Marcus here at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio,” said Allison Sharawi, Facility Dog Coordinator. “Our newest Associate is a win-win for our patients and Associates.”

Additionally, Marcus helps patients reach their treatment goals by providing support during procedures, encouraging movement and promoting play, hospital officials said.

He helps provide support for pain management and also helps relieve some caregiver fatigue and increase morale - because who doesn’t love dogs?

“Marcus will make hospitalizations easier for the children and their families, while boosting the spirits of our amazing teams during these challenging times,” Sharawi added.

According to hospital officials, Marcus is already making a huge impression. During his first few days on duty he met with associates and patients, explored the hospital, and received a Blessing of the Paws from the Spiritual Care team.

Check out Marcus on Instagram and learn more about the PUPPYatrics program here.

Related: Four young cancer warriors ring cancer-free bell at SA hospital

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.