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‘Magical’ dogs Muffin and Cupcake bring warmth to Vancouver hospital patients – Global News Toronto

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Whenever she has bloodwork done, St. Paul’s Hospital patient Grace Edge has two little pups cuddled in her arms.
As a recovering substance user, she said she wouldn’t get able to get through it without Muffin and Cupcake, whom she’s come to know and love over the course of her many visits.
“I don’t know what I would do without them. The dogs are so magical,” Edge told Global News. “You could be really angry and really depressed, but as soon as you get them it all completely changes. Your love for the dogs comes out and they help you, they make you want to keep going.”
Muffin and Cupcake are brought into the hospital by a Road to Recovery peer worker Junko, who said a hospital was one of the first places she truly felt safe and cared for. When she was a patient, she said staff let her bring her chihuahua Koko, and she realized the connections and healing pet therapy could bring to herself, health-care workers, and patients.
“I felt like one day, when I get better, I want to be on their side with the dog and I want to be there for the patients and people who are going through a hard time,” she explained. “I wanted to be the one to have lived experiences to be able to be there for the patient … to feel their pain together.”
When Koko passed, Junko got Muffin. Muffin began visiting St. Paul’s Hospital in 2022 and Cupcake followed this year.
Both are unofficial therapy dogs.
“There’s so much impact,” Junko said. “They bring such joy, connection, love and purpose to patients … they break the isolation, they bring such a special bond, a connection, calming energy.”
It’s one of many initiatives propped up by the St. Paul’s Hospital Foundation, whose annual Lights of Hope fundraiser is now underway.
“It is all about being compassionate. We really see people at their most challenging emotional, mental and physical times,” said foundation chief development officer Cecilia Tupper. “Health care is on its back foot and we are in a health-care facility that is aged out of its time, so to see people who work here, like Junko, be bringing that time of compassion is inspiring, and to know that donors are helping to make that part of people’s journey in difficult challenging times is really important.”
Visit the Lights of Hope website to find out how to contribute.
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