Patients at one of the country's busiest children's hospitals will soon be able to get a visit from their own dog or cat.
Work on a new €100,000 facility has started at Crumlin hospital as part of the Cian's Kennels initiative.
The ribbon on this new centre was cut by Shane Neary - brother of 15 year old Cian, who died from a rare form of lymphoma in 2019.
Cian loved sport, fashion, hanging out with friends - and his dog Cooper, and his mother, Evelyn, says they brought Cooper from the family home in Longford to a kennel close to the hospital in Crumlin.
Monday January 10th is a RED LETTER day for sick children from every county in Ireland - as we unveil details of a brilliant new initiative to bring their pets to see them in hospital at @jobswithCHI Crumlin. Stay tuned today please pic.twitter.com/wsjcxDwg0K
— Cian's Kennels (@CiansKennels) January 9, 2022
This new facility will have specially designed kennels for pets on-site so patients can visit.
Darragh Smyth, who's now recovered from cancer, was a patient on the same ward as Cian two years ago:
The new centre is due to be up and running by the end of next month.
Work starts at the hospital in CHI at Crumlin today to erect specially designed holding kennels for pets, complete with a seating area for families, an indoor and outdoor area for pets and bathroom/toilet facilities which will allow children at the hospital to see their beloved pets on the campus in a controlled situation.
During this phase 1 period, pets will board at the nearby DSPCA pet hotel and will be transported by Cian’s Kennels over and back to the hospital to visit sick children and their families by appointment.
Cian’s mum Evelyn says: "Our beloved 15-year-old son Cian loved life generally – his love of sport, fashion, food and socialising with his friends was clear to all who knew him but his greatest love was animals, of all shapes & sizes.
"Our world fell apart when Cian was diagnosed with Hepatosplenic T-cell Lymphoma in September 2018 and, while in hospital in the early days of diagnosis, we asked him if there was anything we could get him to make him feel better. We already knew the answer….. and a few weeks later Cooper, a gorgeous golden Labrador puppy joined our other dog & cat as part of our animal family."
Cian visited Cooper most days and, as the hospital continued treatment until the last week of his life, the fifteen-year-old still enjoyed many occasions & outings in Dublin knowing Cooper was safe nearby.
Dad Enda Neary says: "For us as a family, these outings and the time Cian spent with Cooper became the basis of lasting, precious memories when Cian sadly lost his battle for life in the early hours of September 23, 2019.
"We experienced first-hand the joy Cooper brought Cian and us during the most difficult days."
The new Cian’s Kennels base at the hospital idea was born with Cian in Summer 2019 when Cooper arrived in Dublin. From that point onwards, the family pledged to continue that journey in Cian’s memory by bringing pets closer to sick children and their families.
Professor Aengus O’Marcaigh, Consultant Paediatric Haematologist, Children’s Health Ireland at Crumlin says: "I saw first-hand the very positive influence that Cooper’s visits had on Cian during his prolonged hospitalisations. The provision of this new service will undoubtedly bring comfort to many more children and teenagers at a very difficult time for them. My thanks to everyone who has contributed to making this happen."
🐾 A new centre at Crumlin Children’s Hospital will mean patients can soon get a visit from their own dog or cat @CiansKennels was set up in memory of 15 year old Cian Neary who died from a rare form of lymphoma in 2019 & loved visiting his dog Cooper during treatment pic.twitter.com/UEFoVuPKKz
— Stephen Murphy (@StephenMNews) January 10, 2022
Cian’s family and the Cian’s Kennels team now want to get the message of awareness out to other parents and children around the country.
"We want the word to go out to every child heading into hospital in Crumlin that, right now, you can avail of most of our services and we expect that the holding kennels will be up and running by mid/late February 2022, so spread the word”, said Evelyn.
"Our plan with Cian’s Kennels was to provide kennelling facilities close to the children’s hospital, providing this service in a structured, safe, practical way, free of charge to families and now, thanks to the efforts of so many, we are nearly there."
The new service will include full veterinary checks including vaccinations for the visiting pets before they arrive at the hospital. Transport from home to and from the kennels will also be covered.