What do art, clowns and a cute dog have in common?

They’re therapies that help sick kids heal!

The picture of health

The goal of the Art Therapy Service at The Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH) of the McGill University Health Center is to help hospitalized children battling cancer express their emotions. “Through drawing, painting, or doing a collage, a child can express his fear, anger and sense of loss,” says Art Therapist Sarah Brodie. “The patients also learn to cope with the emotional stress and trauma associated with their disease and its treatment.” For more information about art therapy, visit www.aatq.org.

Clown around—it's good for your health

A clown with a red nose and a silly stethoscope is not something you expect to find in a hospital. But at The Montreal Children's Hospital, a variety of zanily dressed clowns roam around visiting patients. They generate lots of laughs but they’re very serious about why they do it. Melissa Holland, co-founder of the non-profit organization, explains. "The therapeutic artists of Dr Clown! promote an environment of imagination and play,” she says, “which helps alleviate stress and contribute to quality of life."

Hospital goes to the dogs

They don’t have a medical degree, can’t write up a prescription, and think a stethoscope is a nifty chew toy. Jazz and Porto are the stars of The Montreal Children’s Hospital Pet Therapy Program run by Child Life Services, and the cuddly Bichon Frisé and Poodle visit patients weekly to be petted and held. “An animal inspires playfulness and laughter. This carefree mood brings pleasure, spontaneity and change to the daily hospital routine,” says Dominique Brunet, Animal-Assisted therapist with Zoothérapie Québec.