It's said some of the best therapists have fur and four legs.
Abby Wilson, Coordinator of Pet Partners, couldn't agree more. What's more, she's determined to fulfill the mission of the organization she represents which is to improve human health and well-being through a human-animal bonding experience.
"Volunteers in the Therapy Animal Program interact with a wide variety of clients including veterans with PTSD, seniors living with Alzheimer's, students with literacy challenges, patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities and those approaching end of life," Wilson said. "We are motivated by connection, compassion and a commitment to sharing this meaningful bond with everyone who can benefit from time spent with an animal."
On Saturday, Nov. 11th from 10 a.m. until noon the non-profit is planning a "Meet and Greet" at Rose Park for people interested in pet therapy opportunities with their animal. Members will be there with therapy dogs and have handouts explaining the steps to become involved in pet therapy and answer questions and meet their dogs.
Wilson said her Pet Partners group "Paws with Partners" serves Mansfield, Arlington and other areas with pet therapy teams. The team visits Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, THR-HEB, The Pavilion Assistant Living, Kindred-Mansfield, Brookdale-Mansfield, The Isle at Watercrest, Brookdale-Lake Arlington, Elmcroft-Arlington, Anna Mae Daulton Elementary, Willie Brown Elementary, St Gregory's Preschool, DFW Airport-Canine Crew, UTA, TCC-SE, Paws for Refection Ranch and special events.
Wilson said the success of the national program has been “incredible” with more than 15,000 therapy animal teams nationwide participating in the program.
Marsha Huey, a Paws with Partners members since 2012, said she loves working with children who are autistic.
Vickie Stamp, also a member, said she likes working with children, too.
"I enjoy going to elementary schools and work with kids that need help with their reading. Sometimes it's an emotional issue and the child just seems to blossom with the dog," Stamp said. "They open up to a dog where they won't open up to a person. We get to see how that child progress through the semester; it's wonderful."
About Pet Partners
Pet Partners is a national 501C3 non-profit organization out of Seattle, Washington. Paws with Partners Therapy group is the local group in Mansfield and all our members are registered with Pet Partners. The handler must take either a Pet Partners Handlers Course by attending a local Pet Partners Workshop or do the online course on their website. Following the handler must attend a Pet Partners Evaluation with pet partner. We are required to attend a re-evaluation every two year by a Pet Partners licensed evaluator.