Asteroid and Orbit, 2 dogs, are changing lives at Huntsville Hospital | Community events

Two furry friends change lives.

Asteroid and Orbit are two golden retrievers who work at Huntsville Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The duo help pediatric and adult patients, providing relief and support, because sometimes patients need more than a shoulder to lean on.

“It never gets old to see the anxiety disappear from someone’s face,” said Victoria Snell, Orbit’s manager.

Snell said parents and patients often say, “It was a tough day until Orbit came in.”

Snell pursues medical goals and prioritizes this in his daily work with patients, a mission made possible by a grant from PetSmart Charities. The grant gives the necessary care to the dogs so that they can provide services to patients in the hospital.

“If a child needs to get up and walk after surgery and they’re reluctant about it, we can bring Orbit in and they can walk around with Orbit,” Snell said.

Huntsville Hospital is the first hospital in Alabama to have companion dogs.

“Our program coordinator, Stephanie, saw a big hole in things that needed help and support at the hospital,” Snell said.

The Canines for Coping program fills the void noted by Stephanie. Snell said they hope to expand the program within the Huntsville hospital system soon, providing more support for patients and their families.

Canines for Coping is entirely donor funded. The Huntsville Hospital Foundation and PetSmart Charities continue their partnership through 2023 to support dogs and their selfless care for patients.

To learn more about Orbit, click here.

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