left, and Smiles, 7-week-old Brittany spaniel mix
puppies, play at the Wright-Way Rescue Connect Us
room on May 28, 2015 in Morton Grove, Ill. Kids
can watch dogs play at a shelter through a new web
— Children at a Chicago hospital soon will be able to
play with puppies and kittens at an animal shelter
without leaving their rooms.
Rescue animal shelter set up a camera system in a
playroom at its new adoption center in suburban Morton
Grove so children can engage with pets virtually from
their hospital beds, said Lisa Aiken, director of
development at the no-kill shelter
the beginning of the year, children at Lurie Children’s
Hospital, in downtown Chicago, have been able to watch
the animals play throughout the day via a stream that
can be seen on their rooms’ television monitors,
according to Susan Ruohonen, the hospital’s director
of children’s services.
really was amazing how popular it became almost
immediately," Ruohonen said. "It’s sort of a
day in the life of puppies and to be able to experience
that in real time is really a unique opportunity."
interactive portion will be set up at the hospital as
soon as coding issues can be worked out, Ruohonen and
Aiken said. Until then, the interactive portion is
available online to the public, Aiken said.
can watch the animals live on Wright-Way’s site. Above
the feed, a link labeled, "Come play with us!"
leads to a site with an interactive feature that
controls a camera in the room and activates one of three
devices, a machine that shoots peanut butter-flavored
bubbles, a tail that wags or a long rope hanging in the
middle of the room that spins. The hospital will have a
separate link once it is up and running.
visitor has two minutes to engage the devices in the
room after clicking a button to queue on the site.
hospital in Florida created a similar interactive
playtime, but Wright-Way is hoping to expand to
hospitals across the United States. The children at
other hospitals would have a separate link, Aiken said,
but they would wait for their turn to interact with the
animals alongside children at Lurie.
kind of feel like we’re rescuing both the children and
the animals at the same time," Aiken said.
"They both have challenges in their lives."
to launch the program and build the room came after a
bus ran into the shelter’s Niles facility in October
2013. The video camera system was set up through a grant
by LinkedIn for Good shortly after the shelter opened
its new facility in September 2014.
shelter, which takes in an average of about 75 adoptable
cats and dogs per week, hopes that as children and the
public play with the dogs, they fall in love with them
already had someone come in that saw the video from the
hospital bed and adopted a dog from a facility,"