June 02, 2016 02:37 PM

St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Purina have teamed up to make the time patients spend hospitalized a little brighter and fluffier.

The Purina Family Pet Center recently opened at the hospital, offering children receiving care a chance to visit with their pets.

Many hospitals prohibit pets from visiting patients, even though research shows animals can help keep a person calmer, happier and healthier by providing much-needed emotional support during the often challenging rehabilitation process.

Courtesy Purina/Mary Butkus

To keep kids connected with the comfort only a family pet can provide, St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Purina opened the center, which allows a safe, welcoming environment for children undergoing treatment at the hospital to reunite with every member of their household.

The Purina Family Pet Center is only the fourth family pet center at a pediatric hospital worldwide. Purina hopes that the positive effects the center’s interactions have on patients will lead to more of these facilities.

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