We are celebrating the New Year with another issue of The Paw Print! This quarterly newsletter aims to bring you all the news and updates from the last few months at Hero Dogs—and some smiles, too! Thank you for reading and for your support of our work!
Hero Dogs Bartley is the facility dog at the Inova Children's Hospital, an award-winning, full-service children’s hospital devoted to the healthcare of infants, children, and adolescents in the Northern Virginia area.

Hero Dogs facility dogs assist people in ways distinct from other types of working and service dogs. In partnership with a trained handler employed by the facility, they work full-time with staff to achieve specific treatment or program goals through animal-assisted therapy.

While Hero Dogs Bartley loves to support staff wellness with cuddles and his signature smile, his favorite part of the job is providing comfort and love to children receiving care at the hospital!

Hero Dogs Bartley fulfills his facility dog duties in several ways, including:
  • visiting patients at their bedside, as well as groups of patients and visitors in common areas;
  • providing emotional support during procedures, such as starting an IV;
  • normalizing the hospital environment for patients and families; and
  • reducing anxiety for long-term patients.
Hero Dogs Bartley's handlers have noted several specific therapeutic outcomes from Bartley's facility dog work. Some examples are listed below.

A patient in the PICU (pediatric intensive care unit) had been very unresponsive; when Bartley entered the room, she demonstrated the most responsiveness of her hospitalization to date.
to keep up with his work at
Inova Children's Hospital!
Another patient remarked, "This is the first time that I have not been in pain since I've been here," during a visit from Bartley.
An oncology patient would not walk, despite his doctor's orders; the patient walked 9 laps with Bartley by his side.
In a patient experience survey, Bartley was mentioned as a highlight of their hospital admission.
Bartley's handler also notes that staff are visibly happier and more content when Bartley is present.

“Everyday, we hear 'This is the best part of my day' and 'This is exactly what we needed' from staff and families. Bartley is stopped for pictures regularly. He decreases patients' length of stay by supporting patients in reaching their treatment goals.” —Director of Child Life Services at Inova Children's Hospital
Out &
Despite the public health challenges we are all facing, Hero Dogs volunteers and staff continue to find ways to new ways to safely train service dogs and share our organization with the public!
Service dog in training Hero Dogs Nevada kept busy in October and November demonstrating her skills for multiple groups of youth, including two Girl Scout troops and the students and teachers at The Goddard School in Gainesville, VA.
Staff have filmed demonstrations that would normally be part of in-person presentations so that people can still witness the impressive skills our service dogs in training will eventually use to help their veteran or first responder with a disability.
Therapy Dogs
Therapy dog Hero Dogs Zeke and his human joined with fellow PAL dogs to listen to young readers from across the country, aiming to help kids gain skills and confidence reading aloud.
Facility Dogs
Hero Dogs Barney, facility dog at Children's National Hospital, has an important new project: comforting his human colleagues while they are vaccinated against COVID-19!
Thank You for Supporting Hero Dogs on
Giving Tuesday!
We are so grateful for the generosity of our community.⁣
An amazing 173 people donated a total of $22,740 to Hero Dogs!

173 donors is a 48% increase from last year. We owe our gratitude to each and every person who made this happen—sharing Hero Dogs with friends and family, hosting their own online fundraisers, and, of course, making donations, so many people helped us have a successful Giving Tuesday. Your contributions will help us recover from a year with fewer events and fundraising opportunities. Thank you!
Half of Hero Dogs Clara's 2nd Litter Begins Advanced Training!

From left to right: Hero Dogs Tilly, Nevada, and Monty.
One half of Hero Dogs Clara's 2nd litter began Advanced Training in late 2020! Hero Dogs Monty, Hero Dogs Tilly, and Hero Dogs Nevada all moved into the Hero Dogs kennel, taking the next step toward their future careers.
Hero Dogs Dempsey, Hero Dogs Roo, and Hero Dogs Grover, also from the second litter of Hero Dogs' breeding program, will be joining their siblings in the kennel in early 2021.
Hero Dogs' 1st litter turned 2 years old on October 2nd! Happy Birthday to Hero Dogs Dip, Sandy, Betty, Derby, and Pearl (not pictured, as she was preparing for knee surgery)!
On December 10th, the puppies of Hero Dogs Clara's youngest litter turned 1 year old! Happy Birthday to Hero Dogs Norm, George, Anita, Hoagie, Moo, Sprout, and Fiona!
We want to again recognize all those who graduated at our recent Hero Dogs 2021 Virtual Graduation Ceremony, which aired on Sunday, January 10th. We were proud to be able to share with you the passion and hard work that goes into each of our matches. If you weren't able to watch, you can see the full ceremony by clicking here.
Hero Dogs Patty!

We are so excited to announce the arrival of Hero Dogs Maj Patricia Collins Hughes, a.k.a. Hero Dogs Patty! ⁣
The first and only puppy to join the Hero Dogs family in 2020, this sweet black Labrador retriever puppy was born on August 9th, 2020. She was graciously donated to Hero Dogs by Osprey Labradors and sponsored in memory of Pat Wells.⁣

You can watch Patty grow by following her on Instagram at @HeroDogsPatty!
Upcoming Events
Please note: Until further notice, all Hero Dogs trainings will be held via webinar.
Proud to be named "One of the Best" Nonprofits in the Greater Washington