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Marsha Owen & Allie Mae: Many Years of Love & Service

Marsha Owen
Pet Partners Handler
Marsha Owen and therapy dog Allie Mae.
Marsha Owen and therapy dog Allie Mae.

Allie Mae Owen, a Pet Partners therapy dog.Allie was three years old when she began her therapy dog career with Paws 4 Healing and Pet Partners in 2009; she was 16 when she finished in 2022. She served for 13 years! Her last visit to Sierra View Hospital was September 6, 2022. She passed away September 18, 2022, just short of her next scheduled visit to the hospital on September 20. Allie was the oldest and longest serving member of the Tulare County Chapter of Paws 4 Healing.

A Pet Partners handler and her rat terrier therapy dog visit with a client in a hospital bed.

Allie loved her job as a therapy dog. I called it “pet the people.” When I was getting ready to go on a visiting day, I would say we were going to pet the people, and she became so excited and eager to go.

Marsha Owen & Allie Mae on a therapy visit with a hospital patient.Allie seemed to have intuition about the people she visited. Once, while visiting a lady who could not raise her arm to pet Allie’s head, Allie scooted her nose under the lady’s hand and stayed there while the lady moved her fingers to pet the top of Allie’s head.

Allie also had her favorite clients that she became attached to and had a special relation with them. Two of these special friends were a gentleman and a lady in the subacute section of the hospital who loved Allie. She knew where their rooms were and rushed to see them each time on our visits. Allie had many visits with them both. They both felt they had a shared ownership of Allie. The lady had a picture of Allie and herself, taken during a visit with Allie, that was put up on a bulletin board in her hospital room.

When the lady passed away, the lady’s family asked to have Allie attend her funeral because Allie and the visits meant so much to her during her stay in the hospital. Allie was very good and didn’t make a sound during the funeral. The family appreciated us being there.

Marsha Owen and therapy dog Allie Mae.
Marsha Owen & Allie Mae

We also visited other facilities such as Valley Adult Day Services, Porterville Sheltered Workshop, and Sierra Hills Independent Living, as well as school visits and other special occasion visits through the years. Allie brought joy to a lot of people and touched many lives during her 13 years of service.

I was so blessed to have spent these past 16 years with Allie. She gave me so much joy, friendship, unconditional love, companionship, and entertainment! We were best friends and very attached to each other. I will continue to miss her dearly, but I will remember all the wonderful memories of our time together.