What Is YAPS?


The Youth and Pet Survivors Program (YAPS©) is a pen pal program that matches pediatric oncology patients with dogs and cats who have survived cancer or other serious medical conditions. Children and pets (via their owners) establish relationships and communicate through letter writing.


This allows children the unique opportunity to share feelings about having cancer with a safe, unconditionally loving animal. YAPS child participants report enhanced well-being; YAPS pet owners report a sense of contribution knowing that their pet’s illness can make a difference in a child’s life.


The YAPS Program hosts events which allow pen pals to meet face to face. The program has met with tremendous success, with over one hundred child and animal families participating in YAPS since it began in 2001.


Based at Children’s Hospital Colorado Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, YAPS collaborates with area veterinary hospitals, including CSU’s Animal Cancer Center and the Veterinary Referral Center of Colorado.


The mission of YAPS is to facilitate healing, fun, and creative relationships between animals and humans by connecting children with cancer to animal cancer survivors.


The vision for YAPS is to make these unique pen pal relationships available around the globe.