At Zoetis, we know the human-animal bond is powerful. We’ve supported studies to show the benefits of therapy dogs for oncology patients and raised awareness about the ways pets can make people healthier. Now our colleagues in Spain are building on this work by sponsoring therapy dogs for children with autism, to help them develop social skills for the future. Read on to learn more about how these dogs, with the help of Zoetis, are making a difference in children’s lives.

Before the big arrival, Ariana barely noticed animals. Birds didn’t fly, and dogs didn’t bound down the street. “It was as if they didn’t exist,” said her mom, Aurora. Then Tango came along. And life for four-year-old Ariana, whose autism often kept her simply from leaving the family home in Madrid, changed entirely.

Tango is an autism service golden retriever with Yaracan, a Spanish animal assistance organization. With the support of Zoetis, in collaboration with the Adecco Foundation, Yaracan therapy dogs helped children develop cognitive, communicative and social skills over the last year at several special education schools in Madrid.

For Ariana (pictured below), one of 27 children in three schools helped by the program, the effects have been seismic.