Colorado Kennel Club program connects canine survivors to young cancer patients

DENVER -- The Colorado Kennel Club hosted it's 116th show this holiday weekend, bringing together over 1,200 dogs and 193 different breeds to compete for the Best in Show award.

This year, the annual event partnered with YAPS, a program that connects sick children with dogs who have survived cancer.

Anne Gillespie is a nurse who founded the Youth and Pet Survivors program 17 years ago.

Gillespie saw the bond that formed between patients and animal visitors, but noticed that some children are too sick to interact with animals without running the risk of infection.

With that in mind, cats and dogs are connected to the young patients by exchanging letters. Children from ages seven to 18 are eligible to take part in the program.

"What makes YAPS special is the dogs and cats in the program have also been treated for cancer," said Gillespie, noting that children tell her their animal pen pals are special because "they know what I'm going through."

You can find out more about how to participate in the YAPS program, as well as how to donate, on their Facebook page.

The special dogs on display at the Colorado Kennel Club show will participate in and Obedience and Rally competition on Monday.

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