K9 Cops for Kids Christmas Campaign stops at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon on Dec. 17, 2012. Karin Yeske/News Talk Radio
Sick kids at the Royal University Hospital got a visit from Diego the police service dog on Monday.
For the first time in Saskatchewan, officers and dogs with the K9 Cops for Kids Christmas campaign are lighting up some tiny smiles for the holidays. The kids received stuffed toy dogs provided at cost from the RCMP Heritage Centre.
"There is 120 beds that we've planned for. Of course, we hope that they are all empty but the unfortunate fact is that is that many of them will be filled," said Cpl. Sean Cleary of the RCMP. Cleary developed the initiative so sick children who have to spend time in the hospital during the holidays can be with real police service dogs. A puppy from the RCMP police training program is brought in to play with the children as pet therapy. The Royal University Hospital is an exception, where dogs have to be at least a year old.
The campaign is visiting children in Saskatoon, Regina (Dec. 18) and Prince Albert (Dec. 20).