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About Sickkids
About SickKids

March 18, 2009

Sick stuffies saved at Child Life pet clinic

A sudden increase in stuffed-animal injuries and illness caused some concern over March Break, but fortunately patients at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) were able to step in and “treat” their ailing bedside companions.

Photo of teddy bear receiving an x-ray
Junior doctor Triese, nine, gives her handmade teddy Smokey an 'x-ray'.

On March 17, children brought their teddy bears and other plush pals to a unique ‘pet’ clinic presented by the hospital’s Child Life Department. The smiling young doctors, nurses and technicians took their patients’ blood pressure, used stethoscopes to listen for heartbeats, took ‘x-rays’ and applied casts and bandages to fuzzy limbs, bellies and tails.

Nine-year old Treise Logan visited the clinic with her stuffed friend Smokey, a two-week-old grey bear she made at SickKids. When Smokey came down with an infection the previous night, Treise, a SickKids patient herself, knew just what to do: she used gauze tape to hold Smokey’s IV in place, helping to deliver infection-fighting antibiotics, and for good measure stuck a bandage to her stuffed bear’s foot. Treise’s sister Gwen, six-and–a-half, brought her own stuffed pet to the clinic: a chipmunk that needed a cast for its injured tail.

“It’s a great event because it’s fun for the kids and stops the monotony of spending time in the hospital,” said Caron Irwin, Entertainment and Donations Coordinator for Child Life. An added benefit of the clinic, she explained, is its important educational component. “It gives the kids a chance to play with the equipment they see every day,” she said. Child Life events like this one help children familiarize themselves with the hospital environment, while also ensuring they have some fun during their stay.

Young girl takes temperature of scruffy the white stuffed dog
Doctor-in-training Emily, five, carefully checks the temperature of her new white doggy, Scruffy, given to her by Child Life at the 'pet' clinic.

Treise’s mother Nadine said her daughter, who is in and out of the hospital regularly, loves most of the time she spends at SickKids. “We do lots of stuff with Child Life. Treise has friends all over the hospital.”

Smokey is feeling better and is expected to make a full recovery.

For more information, please contact:

Suzanne Gold
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 2059
email: suzanne.gold@sickkids.ca