Children’s Hospital Therapy Dogs Get Married, Cheering Up Young Patients

The wedding was live streamed for children who were confined to their hospital beds.

Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri is a special place. Beyond being one of America’s best children’s hospitals, they also employ two therapy dogs—Hunter and Hope. “The dogs might encourage a child to go for a walk, socialize with others, or participate in therapies,” says Children’s Mercy. “For some children, there’s no better medicine or treatment that compares to snuggling in bed with a warm, fluffy friend.”

Hunter is a “very chill” golden retriever who spends the bulk of his time in the Hematology and Oncology inpatient unit. Hope is a spunky golden retriever who visits patience in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit. But together, they roam the halls of Children’s Mercy and bring smiles and joy to everyone they meet—the young patients, their families, and even the hospital staff.

Because Hunter and Hope spend so much time together, they’ve formed a unique bond. “They’re already spending much of their lives together,” Hope’s handler, Allison Bowring, told PEOPLE. “Since they first met in 2015, they’ve always been revved up to see each other. There’s a special energy about them.”

And so it followed: They should get married.

(Courtesy of Children’s Mercy Kansas City.)

The two goldens were united in holy pup-imony on May 18th, with 60 patients and employees in attendance. (The event was also live-streamed for the children who were confined to their hospital beds!) Hope wore a white dress and veil while Hunter sported a tuxedo collar—and they shared a proper kiss upon saying “I do.” (Or, y’know, “Woof.”)

(Courtesy of Children’s Mercy Kansas City.)

(Courtesy of Children’s Mercy Kansas City.)

“The wedding was a fun way to get the kids more involved in the lives of these two special dogs,” Missy Stover, the hospital’s therapeutic programs manager told PEOPLE. “If ever two dogs deserved a wedding, it’s these two.”

(Courtesy of Children’s Mercy Kansas City.)

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