Life spans of our companion animals are shorter than those of humans. It is this briefness of lifespan, however, that is paradoxically joyful and painful. We must remember that all lives have beginnings and endings. It is the middle, what many refer to as a lifetime, which we must hold close to our hearts.
When you hear the name “Buddy”, you might picture man’s best friend: maybe an enthusiastic Golden Retriever, or a dependable Labrador. This Buddy is not quite what you’d expect. He has a beak, gorgeous plumage of yellow, green, and blue, and an enduring love for the works of Dr. Seuss.
“If love and prayers could help, Max would live forever.” That was the reaction from an Activity Director of a large assisted living facility when owner Annette Thier had to break the news that Max had been diagnosed with cancer. Another facility held prayer meetings and many residents made cards for their favorite four-legged therapist.
Find out the most recent news from Pet Partners in the latest edition of Interactions. Meet Bellin, a Husky rescued from terrible circumstances by the Fontenot family who has helped so many through therapy work. “Bellin links our worlds of rescue and healing, helping children and dogs together. He completes the circle.”
Between them, Molly and Ed have lived 92 years. Together they have made more than 1,000 Pet Partners visits to schools, assisted living facilities, day care centers and other sites. The team has comforted those who were near the end of life. calmed frightened children, coaxed conversation out of those reluctant to speak and in at least one instance, may have helped turn a life around.
Pet Partners introduces a very special registered therapy animal team. Major Christina Rumayor is a psychiatrist for soldiers at Fort Bragg, North Carolina who uses her German Shepherd Lexy for Animal-Assisted Therapy in counseling sessions. This issue also includes an article written by Pet Partners board member, author, professor and psychologist Aubrey Fine who describes how species other than dogs can be beneficial as therapy animals. The new Delta Giving Society (page 19) welcomes supporters of the human-animal bond.
Pet Partners registers species other than therapy dogs to be therapy animals. In this issue we feature a recent team evaluation session for llamas that was held at our headquarters office in Bellevue, Washington. Also included is the announcement of Pet Partners new President and CEO, C. Annie Magnant and the 2013 Annual Report.
One year after the devastating tragedy at Sandyhook Elementary, Pet Partners reports on the work of therapy animal teams which comforted survivors throughout the community. The positive benefits of these interactions sparked a Connecticut measure that formalizes a state-sponsored system for training social workers and dogs in animal-assisted therapy. Sandy Hook and other recent crises were also impetus for Pet Partners’ development of an online continuing education course for registered teams called “Animal-Assisted Crisis Response.” It will be released in early 2014 along with another course, “Working with Veterans.”