My Golden Retriever, Hunter, and I jointed KPETS over a year ago. Hunter is only two years old but has the demeanor of an “old soul”. This “Old Soul” has melted the hearts of many children at the Shrewsbury Library’s “Tales for Tails”.
There are moments when five children are reading five different books all at the same time. Some will show Hunter the pictures in the books. One little boy was very shy to read in front of his parents. They decided to walk around the library while the boy sat and rubbed Hunter’s belly. There was a dog book sitting on Hunter’s blanket. I told the little boy Hunter had just finished reading the book and if he liked, he could read it to Hunter. The boy was slow at picking up the book. As the boy read, he would stumble through some of the words. I asked him to show the word to Hunter. I would then put my ear to Hunter’s snout. I would then tell the boy the word. He was so impressed that Hunter “could read”. This encouraged him that he decided to get another book to read. When his parents returned to the reading area, they were thrilled by the sight of their shy son reading to Hunter. They kept thanking me for breaking the shyness and shell that was surrounding their son. One dog, one boy, one book, one magical moment is all it took.
I became involved with KPETS last year with my 10 year old Brittany who I rescued 7 years ago. She was put into a rescue organization because her original owners could not spend enough time with her since they commuted over an hour each way to their employment. This is important since Haley, my KPETS certified dog, just craves attention from everyone. Haley gets as much out of KPETS as she gives to the kids at the library or the folks at the nursing home or the people who stop at the information booth when we are fundraising. We have been to the golf tournament and to the Bow Wow Bingo fundraisers and she just loves everyone and all of the dogs too!!!
We first heard about KPETS when Karen and Sammy visited the hospital where I was an occupational therapist. Having a golden retriever(Poz, a 6 year old golden whom we rescued from the humane league at age 2), I immediately thought "Poz would LOVE doing this" as well as did all my therapist friends. My husband and I went to the pre-assessment and we knew KPETS would be a great thing for Poz, we were hooked. Poz passed all his assessments with flying colors and we were officially a KPETS team. Seeing the joy and happiness on people's faces when they see Poz coming is something that just brings such joy to our lives. We love Poz so much and to be able to share him with others and know what a good job and good work he is doing by just being himself and letting them pet him, is so rewarding. We absolutely LOVE KPETs and doing as much as we can to be involved whenever we can(which can sometimes be difficult with a very active 2 year old!). You can not imagine the smiles you can get from a visit or the stories you hear from others about their lives, their dogs and just their lives today. KPETS means so much to us, to be able to give back to our community is something we love. Poz is truly an amazing Golden and we are so happy to have him and can't imagine a day without him! Even better is being able to share him with so many others when we do therapy with him, it's the smiles on other's faces seeing him and knowing the joy it brings them, just absolutely amazing!
While Chester, my golden retriever Pet Therapy dog, and I were walking down the hallway to our regular Pet Therapy appt. at Schreiber Pediatric Rehab, a speech therapist came out of her room and asked, "Excuse me, would you mind coming back to my room for a moment? I am working with a little girl, in all my time working with her I have never heard her speak a complete sentence, or be able to put words together. When you walked past my door she said, 'Can I pet the dog?'" Well, of course I immediately turned around and went into her room with Chester. The little 10 year old girl was all smiles and so excited to pet the dog! While petting him she said, "I have a dog at home!" The therapist amazed, quietly spoke to me, "Sentence #2!" She asked the girl about her dog at home. The girl reached into her backpack, pulled out a stuffed doggie, kissed Chester with her stuffed doggie, and said, "This is my doggie!" The therapist looked my way and mouthed the words, "Sentence #3..." My eyes filled with tears, so privilged to be apart of this miracle-moment.
What a difference Pet Therapy can make in the life of a child, an adult, whoever could benefit from the undconditional love and a tail wag of a furry friend.
These stories happen everyday. God moments for sure. And sometimes... when you least expect it, while you are on your way to someplace just walkin' and waggin' down the hallway, miracles can pop up and surprise you.
My Golden Retriever, Buster, and I participated in a Paws for Reading program at East Berlin (PA) library. Children of all ages would come in to read to a KPETS therapy dog. One of the kids we worked with improved so much, he was selected to go to a literacy camp that year. Buster and I were very proud of his success!
KPETS is an amazing organization. I bond with my dog and others. I can share the gift of my furry friend with those who are in need of a smile. It is wonderful to see those who are struggling light up and smile when they see the therapy dogs coming.
KPETS is an amazing organization!! Karen and her team of volunteers are selfless in the time and devotion that give to the community ... not to mention the unconditional love and kisses provided by their furry friends. Watching the children run to the dogs when they are at church or at other locations allows one to see the human bonding between the therapy dogs and others. Furry friends greet everyone warmly and compassionately ... creating a ray of sunshine for everyone!!
Meeko and I were doing our regular visit with a small class at a school. Our visit went really well and the students had a great time working and visiting with Meeko. That was awesome enough. Meeko is truly turning into a fantastic little therapy dog. He may only weigh 6lbs, but he really has a big heart for kids and just seems to know who needs a little extra therapy at times.
We had finished our classroom visit, exited the room and were making our way down the hall to leave when we came upon a student and a staff member sitting in the hall. Meeko immediately went to this student, I asked the staff member if it was okay, noting that it appeared the student had been crying. He nodded and the student asked if he could hold Meeko. I said certainly, and placed Meeko in his lap. Meeko looked up and began licking this child’s tears. The child began smiling and talking to Meeko. He had Meeko do a few a tricks, sat on the floor and played with him for a couple of minutes, got up turned to me, smiled and ran off into the classroom.
I looked at the staff member sitting on the chair who had been with this student, obviously consoling this child. He looked at me in wonder and said, “That was the most amazing thing I ever saw.” He proceeded to tell me that there was speaker in the class talking about smoking and the effects of it. This student’s mother had just been diagnosed with lung cancer from smoking. He had become upset when they began talking about it in class. The staff member said he had been trying to console him for about 20 minutes but was unable to. He said he had never seen anything like that happen before. I smiled and said that is the magic of pet therapy. We peeked in on the child in the classroom before we left, he looked back with the biggest smile ever, gave us two thumbs up. I returned the thumbs up, smiled and winked, then as we turned and made our way down the hall, I thought, “Isn’t it amazing how our dog’s just know what to do?” I am so proud of Meeko. He will forever be the Chihuahua that touched the lives of so many children. The little dog with a big heart!