All good parents want their children to live happy and healthy lives. But for parents of sick kids, particularly those with chronic and congenital health conditions, that's a much more difficult goal to achieve.

Unsurprisingly, anxiety is ever-present in both these parents and kids' lives.

As a mother of two children with congenital health conditions, I know first-hand how scary it can be when you’re worried and trying to process the “what if” or expected eventuality of surgery.    

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If you don’t believe the hospital experience for new mothers has changed that much in the last few decades, read through the mind-blowing instructions one institution issued every one of their postpartum patients.

“My mom was going through her things and we saw this, it's rules in regards to just having a baby,” Micala Gabrielle Henson wrote alongside the document which she posted on Facebook. The letter had been issued to her grandmother the day her mother was born.

“INSTRUCTION FOR MOTHERS,” the slightly yellowed document issued by Cabarrus Memorial Hospital in Concord, North Carolina reads.

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When industrial designer Doug Dietz went to the hospital to see the inaugural scan of a brand-new MRI machine he designed, what should've been an exciting event quickly turned somber.

The patient coming in for a scan was a young girl. And she was petrified.

The huge, hulking machine had the girl in tears — and that was before the loud whirring noise started up (the average MRI machine is about as loud as a rock concert, and not nearly as fun).

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The therapy dogs at Walter Reed are not magic. (OK, maybe a little bit.)

When you're going through something really hard, sometimes what you need is a warm, fuzzy, adorable distraction.

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The magic science is compelling. Therapy dogs really do seem to help sick and injured people recover.

Therapy dogs like those at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in the above video by Military Health aren't random dogs from a local shelter. These are highly trained, certified dogs with handlers. Therapy and emotional support dogs have been shown to help veterans break out of their emotional shells, leading to more productive therapy sessions and better relationships with loved ones.

More research is needed into how exactly therapy dogs help mitigate the problems that wounded veterans experience, but we've known for a very long time that having pets — especially dogs — grants some pretty serious health benefits.

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