Hand in Paw is a nonprofit organization headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama. HIP's 120+ professionally-trained teams of handlers and their animals help improve people’s day to day lives at numerous facilities throughout Central Alabama. Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization and their dedication is unsurpassed.
To improve the health and well-being of children and adults by serving those with physical, emotional, educational, or psychological needs through interactions with professionally trained Animal-Assisted Therapy Teams.
Lilianna Thompson has been at Children's Hospital of Alabama for the past three months. It started in August, when she developed a bad fever. Her gums became red and swollen, and she was very, very tired. Lilianna has leukemia, a type rarely found in children. Since her diagnosis she's had three rounds of chemotherapy, and her mom Anna stays with her around the clock.
She's had some very special help. At least once a week, Joy and her furry, four-legged friend, Dixie, a six-year-old Border Collie-Springer Spaniel mix, come to visit. Dixie has a touching ability to cheer people up when they are down.
Joy is a volunteer with Hand in Paw. For eight years she and Dixie have made hundreds of visits to Children's of Alabama, making rounds and bringing smiles. For Lilianna and the other young patients, Dixie is pure delight.
"As soon as Joy and Dixie enter the cancer ward, all the kids get a huge smile on their face," Anna said. "They get so excited -- their faces just light up. It really seems to take their mind away from being sick."
"Joy and Dixie are a big part of these kids' lives here," Anna said. "I think it is wonderful that Hand in Paw teams come to the rooms individually, because not all of the children are able to leave their rooms."
Next month Lilianna will have a cord blood transplant. She'll be the youngest child to ever receive this treatment at Children's.
She's getting better, but she probably won't be home anytime soon.
With your support, Joy and Dixie will be at Children's of Alabama, brightening days for Lilianna, and all the kids spending time away from home.