While waiting for chemotherapy, Nichole Chennell of DeKalb, Ill., and other patients receive a different type of therapy altogether. Jin Li, an eight-year-old shih tzu owned by Jo Anne Travis, is a frequent visitor to the Siteman Cancer Center through the TOUCH (Therapy of Unique Canine Helpers) Program.
Travis and Jin Li, whose name means "golden and beautiful," have been certified for therapy work for seven years. Siteman began introducing therapy dogs to patients at both Barnes-Jewish and Barnes-Jewish West County Hospital locations through Support Dogs, Inc. The TOUCH Program includes dogs ranging in size from teacup breeds to great danes.
Tucker, a six-year-old golden retriever owned by Karen Bellville, also visited patients Richard Crowder (above) and Linda Cody (below) at the hospital. Bellville and Tucker have been certified for therapy work for four years and also participate in the Paws For Reading program at local elementary schools and libraries.