It was a bright and sunny day on June 24 when we partnered with Diana Webster Esq., president and CEO of the Native America Humane Society to present at a conference in Green Bay sponsored by the U.S. Attorney’s office on the Healing Benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions for Tribal Victims of Abuse and At-Risk Youth. Diana and her organization are conducting research on the linkages between animal abuse and human violence within Native American culture. Diana invited PHP to partner with her in an effort to share the benefits of positive relationships with animals and how specially trained therapy dogs can help victims gain acceptance, rebuild confidence, and discover love.
Mike, Julie and Steph Grassel with their therapy dogs “Phoebe”, “Bear” and “Max” together with Diane Loppnow and “Holi” and Bob Peterson and “Buddy” all shared truly heartwarming stories of healing with Tribal Leaders, Victims’ Advocates, and members of Law Enforcement. Bob Peterson shared a most sensitive story about a troubled patient who, upon seeing “Buddy”, broke down and began to tell “Buddy” how her father had shot her own dog for stepping in and protecting her from him. “Buddy”, through his soothing presence helped this woman gather the courage to face a part of her past and provided her therapists insights for her ongoing treatment. All the stories shared that day spoke of the wonderful, life changing work our teams do and because of these a Tribe from Michigan has been inspired to explore starting a pet therapy program.
It was an extreme honor and privilege to be invited into the Native American culture, to learn pieces of their story and about the challenges they face. It was humbling to be asked to share some of our stories with Tribal Leaders and those committed to bringing the benefits of therapy dog interactions to Tribal victims. I am looking forward to continuing the relationships that took root that day.
To learn more about the work Diana and the Native America Humane Society is doing gathering research on the linkage between animal abuse and human violence and how we can help res cats, dogs and tribal horses, please visit their website