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Every hour, every day, a child enters the hospital. They are scared and worried.

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Comfort a child by sending a Josh puppy.

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Josh and Friends was developed to help alleviate the stress and provide comfort to children going into the hospital. The Josh and Friends Project includes the book, “I’ll Be O.K.”, and the cuddly “Josh” plush puppy to comfort these kids. Through the use of the book and the plush “Josh” puppy we are able to transform anxious hospital stays into friendship-filled adventures to wellness.

Dr. Sharon Riesen of Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital supports the Josh and Friends Project: “Josh and Friends is basically a kit that comes with a stuffed plush puppy. It’s a good sized puppy, which I love about it. It’s heavy, it’s weighty, it basically covers a child’s chest and gives them a very physical presence of somebody who’s there with them. And it’s a book, entitled “I’ll Be O.K.” We use that book, and a combination of the book and the plush puppy, to teach them about a hospital experience for a golden retriever where he goes through some scary things and realizes people are there to help him, not to hurt him, and that through it all he’s going to be O.K. He’s going to then stay with the child and remind them that they’ll be O.K. He’ll never leave their side; he’ll be their hospital buddy.” ​

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Every day there are many brave men and women who leave their homes to defend our country, and many of the silent victims left behind are their families. The adjustments they make while their loved one serves either here or abroad are many, and the loneliness and the unique fears they share while their loved one is away are real.

The GI Josh Project chronicles the journey Josh and Smudge make with young Cassie, whose daddy is sent abroad during our nation’s military operations in the Middle East. Josh and Smudge befriend Cassie, who is lonely and heartbroken over her daddy’s departure. Together they find coping tools which help Cassie during this trying and difficult time. Even though Cassie is still lonely, the love and comfort Josh and Smudge bring to her family helps them soldier through this difficult time together until her daddy’s triumphal return from his deployment.

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The SCAVMA Josh Challenge

Josh Gold Paw

How to get your student chapter of The American Veterinary Medicine Association (SCAVMA) involved with helping hospitalized children.

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For our GI Josh Partners

Josh Gold Paw

Click here if you are interested in learning more about how your organization can partner with the GI Josh Project.

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The Buzz about Josh & Friends

How did you know I liked dogs so much?

As soon as he opened the box and found the dog he said, “How did you know I liked dogs so much?” He immediately put on his glasses and opened the book and started reading with Josh at his side… The patient called his dad via Red Cross communications, (active duty, location unknown) and was telling him all about “his new dog Josh” and a book all about him!

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Spotlight: Josh’s Friend, Meghan

Josh has many friends, including Meghan Ruck. Read how she made a difference for children on the island of St. Kitts by supporting The Josh and Friends Project. “Community service has always been an important part of my life. It’s important for everyone to give... read more

Emily and Josh

On January 23, 2007 our 6 year old daughter, Emily, was diagnosed with a malignant tumor called Rhabdomyosarcoma. It was in her left kidney and attached to her pancreas, diaphragm and spleen. The surgeons were able to remove all visible pieces but the tumor did break... read more