Pugs and Kisses


Photos courtesy of Justyna Della Valle

Therapy dogs come in all shapes and sizes! Chloe is a 4-year-old Pug, owned by Justyna and Craig Della Valle, and she has been a therapy dog for the past two years.

She has been a patient of Dr. Natalie Marks at Blum Animal Hospital since she was just 8-weeks-old! When Chloe was a puppy, she had many health issues and underwent surgery to correct a portosystemic (liver) shunt. During the recovery from her procedure, her owners decided to seek out an opportunity for Chloe to do what she enjoys most (second to eating!), which is visiting with people. After this decision was made, Chloe’s dad, who is an orthopedic surgeon, read a study in a journal called “Can Therapy Dogs Improve Pain and Satisfaction After Total Joint Arthroplasty? A Randomized Controlled Trial.” This sparked the idea of Chloe becoming a therapy dog and, soon after, she completed a training program and passed the Pet Partners therapy assessment.

On a weekly basis, Chloe visits Craig Della Valle’s patients after surgery at Rush University Medical Center. According to Justyna Della Valle, “It is very rewarding to see how a patient’s mood is lifted after a visit with Chloe. The nurses and hospital staff also look forward to seeing her weekly and often tell me that she is therapeutic for them as well.” Chloe recently started working with Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which is a Chicago-based national non-profit organization dedicated to “providing for the immediate needs of the children and families batting the disease” while also funding cutting-edge research to end pediatric cancer. While Chloe visits with cancer patients, Justyna Della Valle works to help grant wishes or “Bear Hugs” for them.

All types of animals are now being used as therapy animals, and the health benefits they bring to humans is amazing. With Chloe’s infectious personality and adorable face, she can definitely light up any patient’s day!

For more information about the health benefits pets can have on people, check out these other Blum blogs:

Pawsitive Impact of Pets on People

How Animals Can Improve Your Health

Written for Blum Animal Hospital by Jackie Sheppard.