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Denver Pet Partners

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Support

Mission: Denver Pet Partners (DPP) is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the Human-Animal Bond to improve quality of life, benefit human-animal interaction and enhance animal-assisted interaction services in Colorado. Founded in 2001, DPP is inclusive of animal-assisted interaction volunteers, professionals and associated organizations. Mission Statement of DPP: To deliver excellence in animal-assisted interaction and enhance the health and wellness of people through: AAI Services Education Networking Advocacy Research Resource Development

Results: Enhanced services of the healthcare, education and child welfare communities by aiding the rate of healing and teaching important life skills as well as increasing the knowledge of healthcare professionals about incorporating animals into the therapeutic treatment process

Target demographics: healthcare, education & child welfare

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 40,000 lives through direct services, training courses and community education

Geographic areas served: metro Denver and surrounding areas

Programs: information and education on animal-assisted interaction and provides the services of registered, insured volunteer handler-animal teams to enhance the healing and learning process for the metro Denver area in healthcare, education and child welfare.

Community Stories

36 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have Know about Denver Pet Partners (DPP) for many years. Fortunately, my Golden/Lab Retriever had the temperament and big heart to become a therapy dog in 2010. Since then, I'm on my second therapy dog (Yellow Lab) with DPP. This has been an extremely fulfilling and satisfying experience for me and my dogs. We are able to provide support, encouragement, and unconditional love to many community members in hospitals, schools, Adams County Court, and local libraries. DPP is a non-profit who supports all its members (and their animals) to help in many ways in the greater Denver Metro area.
Patt B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2005 my Golden retriever Teddy and I became a therapy team and members of DPP. The Handler Workshop we attended was taught by Diana McQuarrie, the founder of DPP. Our journey has been incredible. We have met so many wonderful people along the way vsiting in Senior facilities, Women and Children's shelters and hospitals. We also volunteer in a literacy program at an elementary school with first graders. I am continuing this work now with my golden retriever Bode since Teddy's passing last year. I am reminded during every visit we make how powerful the human-animal bond is and the healing power of that bond.

I have been so inspired by many DPP mentors that I became a Pet Partner Instructor and Team Evaluator. I wanted to do this so I could give back to this wonderful organization and help provide more well-trained and prepared teams to serve the community.

DPP's mission and commitment to it's members and to the community make it the best therapy animal organization that one could be a member of. DPP's high standards in handler training that is offered, mentoring of new teams and continuing education of the teams prepare them for success in the field of Animal Assisted Intervention. I am proud to be a member of such a supportive group.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My dog, Gunner, and I have been a part of denver pet partners for only a year and a half. It is the highlight of my week when I am able to take Gunner to visit kids at a clinic in Colorado Springs. The kids and the therapists look forward to seeing him. They get to see his tricks, scratch and love on him, and even play some tug-of-war. Gunner loves being active with the kiddos and I absolutely love being able to share him with others. I have already seen improvements with the kids that he has interacted with and just seeing the smiles on their faces is worth it all.

I like that DPP is good about informing the teams of being your animal's best advocate. We are taught to notice any stressors that the animal might be showing when they are visiting with people and are encouraged to do what is best for the animal, regardless of how the experience is going with the visits. I like this a lot. I also like the way that we are trained and then tested/evaluated as a team. The process is very thorough, which means that the teams are up to date on evaluations and are officially registered to go out to the field and make peoples' days. DPP is a very organized and well-established organization. Although it is big, it feels like family. Gunner and I are proud to be a part of it.

Donor

Rating: 5

I've attended a number of visits by DPP teams and the reaction is always amazing. Once the daughter of a memory-care resident at an Assisted-Living facility asked a team to come to her mother's room, because she badly missed her dog. The team stayed with the mother and her kids and grandkids for about 20 minutes, with the daughter later reporting how much it had meant to her mother.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a retired Psychiatric Clinical Nurse Specialist with Prescriptive Privileges, and I love research! The available fact-finding information on the human value of FUR is heartening. I am genuinely grateful for the Denver Pet Partners Organization which nurtures, promotes, and advances the ideology of the Human-Animal Bond.

My Irish Terrier dog Jack and I are a Registered Therapy Team with Denver Pet Partners. We have volunteered during peak travel times at the Denver International Airport; participated in group de-stressing at the Air Force Academy; made weekly visits for a year to Clinic and hospital patients and staff at Castle Rock Adventist Hospital; and currently make twice a week ReadTo Me visits to First Graders at Soaring Hawk Elementary, and a monthly visit at the Castle Pines Library for Bark For Books.

I have witnessed affecting responses from human beings, young and old, who interact with Jack The Dog. Just one exemplification involves Robert, a little First Grader who, at the beginning of the school year could not read two or three sentences to Jack. He visibly lacked confidence and any enjoyment with reading.

Along with expert guidance from Robert’s teacher, Jack spent extra time with Robert throughout the school year. In April Robert’s mother contacted his teacher to relate how Robert woke her on her Birthday with a special present. He was carrying a little book, climbed onto her bed and then proceeded to read to her. She was tearful, and she was grateful for her gift.

Let me add that each time Jack listens to a reader the child receives a cherished sticker, a Jack bookmark and a little treat to give to Jack.

The Denver Pet Partners’ staff provide a wealth of education, structure and support for their volunteer teams. The sincere regard shown for each human-animal relationship is profound. I am absolutely amazed at the relationship I have developed with Jack, owing uniquely to the expertise and enlightenment of DPP, and also enhancing our volunteering experiences.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with my older therapy dog since 2012. After the pet therapy organization we were associated with dissolved, I was not sure I would continue my volunteering. I felt lost and without direction. Fortunately, I found DPP that not only re-certified me when the time came, but most importantly, provided me and my dog with a great support, encouragement, and guidance. DPP is dedicated to high standards of animal assisted therapy and those are shared and passed to all of their members. I love being part of this organization! I can always rely on their support. I feel valued as a member and know that me and my now two therapy dogs can make a difference in other people's lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of Denver Pet Partners for about 1.5 years, along with my sweet greyhound, Nesh (a rescue). I cannot say enough good things about DPP. Nesh and I have been paired with incredible volunteer opportunities. Currently, we are in animal assisted therapy groups at a residential treatment facility for at risk adolescents, and at the Jeffco youth mental health court, and we give some TLC to students and teachers at the Fletcher Miller School. I know that Nesh and I get so much from yhe experiences and the kids simply love the interactions. Nesh teaches the kids patience and observed behaviors and they give her love. What more could we want. If anyone is considering becoming an animal therapy team, you could look for nothing better than DPP, which wants the animals and volunteer visits to be as safe as possible for all concerned. And if you have a volunteer opportunity, you have found the right place in DPP.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Denver Pet Partners (DPP) is an amazing group of folks to volunteer with here in Colorado. They are so interested and supportive of every volunteer as well as their dog, and want truly want the best for both . DPP promotes the Human-Animal bond through human-animal interactions or what most people call "therapy dogs" in various environments within our community. From children to the elderly, these dogs can provide a precious moment of distraction or calm in what could otherwise be a sterile or stressful place. DPP works to make those moments happen with care, professionalism and dedication for the people and pets alike.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I retired in March 2015 and brought home my beautiful black Labrador puppy in July 2015. I had the goal of us becoming a pet therapy team. As probably most people know, Labradors have lots of energy and can be mischievous bundles of joy. I worked with Ellie so much with my goal in mind and we evaluated in October 2016. We did it! We became a team! Ellie and I have been going to Fort Logan Mental Facility for over a year. We also started going to the elementary school where the children read to her. I feel Denver Pet Partners is such a professional organization that makes it clear we are an advocate for our pet first. We feel valued in the community and I am so very proud to say we are a Denver Pet Partner team. I have enjoyed all the smiles and laughs I have witnessed, which in turn make me smile and warms my heart. I feel we have added a little bit more love to our community.

Judy and Ellie

Julie Brief S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a DPP Volunteer. Along with my Brussels Griffon Ollie, we have been a part of the organization for over 2 1/2 years. The all day training I received was super interesting and prepared me for what to expect as a volunteer. I was able to then go through the evaluation and Ollie fortunately passed on his first try. We volunteer at the Denver Hospice Care Center, participate in "Destress" events at many local colleges and universities and we have also participated in other special one-time events. The experience is always challenging but ultimately very rewarding for both Ollie and myself. The leaders of DPP are dedicated, unselfish volunteers who are truly passionate about the work we all do in the community. I highly recommend getting involved with this organization both as a volunteer and with financial contributions. You will truly make a difference!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dudley, a 10 month old flat coated retriever, was owner surrendered to the Pikes Peak Humane Society and came into our home in 2005. He soon settled into his new environment and became our devoted and loving companion. As time went by we realized that he had a lot more to give than just being our partner.

Denver Pet Partners (DPP) turned out to be the perfect vehicle for us to work through. In 2013, my wife and Dudley qualified as a therapy dog team and began visiting Special Ed students at a local elementary school. I accompanied them and was amazed at the impact Dudley had on these youngsters. They looked forward to Dudley’s arrival and it was heartwarming to see their faces light up upon his arrival.

As a Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ) Dudley visited several libraries that had “Paws to Read” programs for children. He welcomed anyone who came by and obviously was non-judgmental of their reading skills.

Visiting residents at two Memory Care Centers in Castle Rock exposed us to a new set of unforgettable experiences. Dudley’s presence brought great joy to those he met. Residents relaxed and loved to pet or hold him while sharing stories of their own animal companions.

In 2015, Dudley made sure that I too passed DPP’s exams, so that we became a qualified therapy team as well. I was excited to be his partner.

In Feb. 2016, he was diagnosed with cancer and 5 weeks later we had to say goodbye to our sweet Dudley. We miss him terribly but find solace in knowing that he brought joy to many lives and refreshed the memories of those who were losing them.

Denver Pet Partner’s programs provide invaluable benefits to many who are very appreciative of companionship and comfort. DPP volunteers with their animal partners selflessly meet these needs. My wife and I are honored to be supporting members of such an incredible organization.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Denver Pet Partners was brought to my attention in 2013 through a dog trainer in Castle Rock. Our sweet Flat Coated Retriever, Dudley, was 8 years old, and I had felt for a long time that he would make a terrific therapy dog. He was definitely a people dog with a wonderful temperament and calm demeanor. Not only would he bring love and comfort to people who needed it, but he himself would enjoy this kind of work.

DPP required me to take a Therapy Dog Handler class and Dudley went through an evaluation which he passed easily, before we could be a registered therapy team. DPP is very well organized and set up to help people and their dogs become successful visiting teams. Dudley and I followed up with a R.E.A.D (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) course and shortly after, we were on our way to visit with Special Ed children at a school not far from us. The children greatly benefited from these visits and let everyone know just how much they looked forward to Dudley’s visits.

When the therapy dog program at the school was discontinued, we started visiting first one and then a second memory care facility in Castle Rock. The impact Dudley made on the lives of these people was tremendous. They so enjoyed seeing him and soon started talking and laughing and sharing their own dog stories.

Every other week, Dudley also used his beautiful people skills as a R.E.A.D. dog at a public library, where children had a lot of fun reading to him. We could see that the children with poor reading skills were improving at a fast rate. There is much to be said for the success of this program.

Throughout this time, we would attend DPP team meetings that were both educational and informative. We are so grateful for this great organization and will continue to support it, even though our beloved Dudley died of cancer in 2016.
Thank you, Denver Pet Partners, for giving us this wonderful opportunity.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My story begins many years ago when my then 10 year old son was a patient at a hospital in Ohio. The best part of being in the hospital, according to my son, was the dog that came to visit! While I was unable to do anything at that point in my life, I knew that at some point I wanted to be that person that brought a dog to visit patients and make their day just a bit brighter!

We moved from Ohio to Aurora with a beautiful Sheltie puppy that I was training to hopefully become that dog that all would enjoy! Denver Pet Partners made my long time dream come true in 2014. I completed the Handler Training Workshop and we passed our Evaluation and started visiting at a cancer center and local hospital. I am always humbled by the joy and love that my sheltie has given to patients, visitors and staff.

Thank you Denver Pet Partners for making a dream come true, for providing me the support, education and community that I call friends!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

In 2001 my wonderful wife and executive director of Denver Pet Partners, Diana, accompanied by our Golden Retriever, Shana, walked into Swedish Medical Center and asked the volunteer director, Sally Jo Thomas, if she had a visiting animal program in which they could participate. Sally Jo responded that they did not have such a program. Immediately upon learning this, Diana asked if she could start one...the rest is history! That day the Swedish Medical Center became the first program for Denver Pet Partners and, to this day, it remains the largest and longest-standing program which we operate in partnership with Swedish. Since 2001, Denver Pet Partners has grown into a vital organization with over 160 members. Our amazing (and I truly mean amazing) members have shown the healing power of the human-animal bond to many thousands of people in acute care facilities, long-term care facilities, hospices, schools, and libraries. They have freely donated hundreds of thousands of hours of their own time (and that of their precious Partners) to help people smile and feel better about themselves, and contribute to healing in miraculous ways. Children have learned critical reading skills by reading to a friendly, and always very attentive, dog! The work we do is powerful and DPP is becoming increasingly relevant in our community thanks to the dedication of the members, their Pet Partner teammates, and our board which I am privileged to lead.

Ken McQuarrie
Chair, Denver Pet Partners

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Janice and her pups have been participating in Bark for Books at Douglas County Libraries in Parker for approximately three years. They have had a positive impact on more than 150 kids, fostering a love of both reading and animals. Not only have they touched the lives of many children, but of library staff members as well! It is wonderful to stop working for a few minutes and love on some pooches. Thank you so much, Janice, for your time and positive energy!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Clay and I have been with Denver Pet Partners for two years and have been a team for a little over a year. I have always found everyone to be gracious and very helpful. Initially I was confused as to how one went about linking up with an organization to visit as a team. I wrote a Board Member that I didn't know and he quickly referred me to someone else who linked us up with the hospital that I now volunteer with. DPP stresses the importance of being your pet's best advocate no matter the situation. Allegiance to our pet partners is first and foremost.
The organization strives to keep members up to date on the latest research of the animal-human bond as well as other pertinent topics. DPP provides many services to many community agencies with quality care and interactions always in mind.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering for this organization for over 3 years, visiting hospitals, schools, libraries, and other locations with my dog. Sometimes we are just a distraction for a patient from the monotony of the hospital or for a student from the stress of finals week, and other times my dog provides a furry shoulder to lean on for someone who is going through a very difficult time. People have shared things with her that they would never share with other people. Everywhere we go, whether we are just arriving at a hospital, library, or school, or we are actively working, people are happy to see a dog in a place where they don't expect to see one.

The people who volunteer with their animals for Denver Pet Partners are top notch; their top priority is the welfare of their animals and they love to help the people they visit, whether it's children learning to read or lonely seniors in a nursing home. Denver Pet Partners has rigorous standards for their animals and animal handlers, ensuring only those who are suitable for this work are doing it. There are also many people who volunteer many hours to serve on the Board of Directors for Denver Pet Partners or to assist with training, team evaluations, and administrative tasks. This is truly a highly dedicated group of volunteers who strives for excellence in everything they do.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I retired in 2015, I knew that I wanted to spend my time sharing wonderful doggy hugs with other people. Since the prior year, I had been a patient of the Aurora Rocky Mountain Cancer center, and I had seen them have therapy dogs come to visit. So, I started my therapy dog journey by asking the Aurora Rocky Mountain Cancer Center what therapy dog organization they worked with. I trusted them with my life, so I figured whoever they thought was the best was really the best! They told me to wait that day, that one of the teams with Denver Pet Partners was coming in a few minutes! So, when I met the handler, she gave me her card and said to send her an email. I did that, and right away I was in touch with the DPP training coordinator, who called and talked to me. I did not have a dog to have as my therapy dog yet, and the training coordinator really helped me with advice about what to do. I then started to go to the team meetings, which was so wonderful, I got to meet so many handlers and their dogs, and hear stories and get wonderful advice about how to proceed. I then decided I would like to help out Denver Pet Partners however I could, so when we were asked at one of the team meetings to volunteer for a committee to plan the 15 year anniversary party for Denver Pet Partners, I said yes! I also volunteered for whatever else needed to be done, and began answering the phone calls and emails going to the Denver Pet Partner info line. From there it has just blossomed. I have come to know so many wonderful, caring people, that are so committed to making Denver Pet Partners a wonderful organization, with very special goals, to create safe, quality visits from our teams every time. The stories you hear from the teams of their visits bring tears to your eyes, they are so moving. Thank you Denver Pet Partners for adding a special purpose and value to my life. I have had my puppy now for a year and a half, and the Denver Pet Partner members have been so helpful to me in her training, and socialization, and getting me ready for my evaluation! Having this network of people available is invaluable.

Marcia Hanes


1

Donor

Rating: 5

This is a well run organization with a dedicated membership. They reach out to the community in many ways, and support the impact of therapy animals.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Denver Pet Partners has enhanced my total being. I am a retired, elementary school librarian, who was addicted to my profession. Feeling like a part of my personality had left me, there was an emptiness I had never experienced before. Enter Denver Pet partners. I had heard about the R.E.A.D. program and what it could do to build confidence in reluctant readers. Lucky for me, I had a very loving Labradoodle that I was confident could be my partner in this new chapter of my life. We were on a mission to become a R.E.A.D. team. I did my research, and Halle Berry Perry, my Labradoodle, and I completed our obedience training, AKC Canine Good Citizen Award, Denver Pet Partners evaluation and our R.E.A.D. evaluation. We are enthusiastically serving the elementary school I retired from, another elementary school close to my home and our local library. We also visit an assisted living facility. Giving back to my community has more than filled that void in my life. Knowing the positive impact we are creating for these students and the elderly simply warms my heart and soul. Doing this with my treasured Labradoodles makes this a dream come true. Labradoodles? Yes! I now have my second Labradoodle, Ziva, also serving with me as a registered Denver Pet Partner therapy dog. Halle is entering her fifth year of serving and Ziva, her third year. The children and elderly alike, love these dogs as much as I do! Denver Pet Partners and Read With Me, formerly R.E.A.D., have enhanced my life and I feel whole again!