Group brings kids joy with piles of puppies

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A local organization is bringing joy to kids who face chronic or terminal illnesses and spend much of their lives in the hospital.

Pile of Puppies founder Jen Trepanier. (KOIN)
Pile of Puppies founder Jen Trepanier. (KOIN)

Pile of Puppies was founded in November 2015 by Jen Trepanier, who was once one of those kids. When she was 12, she was diagnosed withdermatomyositis, which causes the immune system to attack muscles.

“Really Pile of Puppies is about bringing joy,” Trepanier said. “We surround children who are chronically or terminally ill with piles of puppies.”

The organization offers free visits to qualifying families.

Learn more about Pile of Puppies

“I went into this for the children, but I came out of it for the mothers,” Trepanier said. “Usually they’re the last one to let go of the puppies.”

One of those moms is Teresa Johnson, who got a pile of puppies for her son, William.

“Our last couple of days have been lots of testing,” Johnson said. “Yesterday was all day testing, so today, all of that is in the past.”

The Hanson boys, who both face heart and health problems, also loved their puppy visit.

“It’s tough on them when they have, for so long, dealt with issues that just, you know, they get tired of taking medication, tired of coming to doctor’s appointments,” said mom Karen Hanson.

Trepanier said she’s looking for more responsible breeders to help bring puppies to kids at the Ronald McDonald House, where families from Doernbecher stay. The puppies in this story came from Notta Bear Newfoundlands in Hubbard.

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