Patient Chloe helps celebrate Puppy Love at CHLA!
After a whirlwind romance in the hallways of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, therapy dogs Luke and Blondie took a big step this week – coordinating their Halloween costumes to dress up as bride and groom! Chloe Dollar, a 13-year-old CHLA patient, dog-lover and Blondie-and-Luke supporter was on hand to ensure the moment was memorable, and to explain why a doggie romance is a great distraction for young patients who visit the hospital regularly.
“It’s been so fun,” she says. “I gave them ideas, like how they should meet for ‘puppuccinos’ downstairs after visits.”
You might remember the cute Valentine’s Day post of the look-a-like Golden Retrievers falling in love at first sight in the hospital lobby. The two dogs were so smitten with each other that their owners started coordinating their visiting schedules so the dogs could see one another in the lobby or cafeteria after finishing their rounds. They’ve taken Chloe’s suggestion and added a stop at the coffee bar in the HBO Café for “puppuccinos” to their visiting routine.
At CHLA, where therapy dogs are treasured members of the community, news that Blondie and Luke were falling in love was enough to capture the imagination of staff, visitors and patients, and Chloe’s mom Tami thinks this is great. “This has given her something to look forward to and concentrate on. Instead of being anxious about her next chemo, she’s been able to focus on the dogs.”
Blondie had visited Chloe a few times before the news that she had a boyfriend came out. Once she learned Luke was also a CHLA therapy dog and the same breed as Blondie, Chloe was on the lookout.
“She popped out of the door of her hospital room and asked, ‘Is that Luke?’” Luke’s mom Sally recalls. “I said yes, and asked how she knew. It turns out she’d been hearing about Blondie’s boyfriend and hoping to meet him!”
What does Chloe think of their long-term prospects? “I think they’ll make it,” she says. “They’re already talking about dressing up as Mr. and Mrs. Claus for Christmas.”
Luke and Blondie at the Interfaith Center patio for a special photo shoot as bride and groom.
To find out more about Amerman Family Foundation Dog Therapy Program, visit CHLA.org/DogTherapy.