ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis Children's Hospital is opening a new center that will allow young patients enduring long hospital stays to reunite with their pets.

The Purina Family Pet Center officially opened Wednesday with a golden retriever mix named "Happy Jack" tugging away the ribbon. The hospital said the room gives patients a chance to see their pets without leaving the building and the medical technology that is important in their treatment and recovery.

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Photos: St. Louis Children's Hospital opens Purina Family Pet Center

Hospital officials cite studies showing that spending time with pets can reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people dealing with health issues, those staying in long-term care facilities.

St. Louis-based Nestle Purina gave $450,000 to help fund construction and staffing of the 300-square-foot room, which can accommodate a wheelchair or hospital bed.

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