20th Anniversary Event

Mayor Tom Barrett proclaimed September 8th at Pets Helping People day. On that date, we gathered together and celebrated 20 years of Pets Helping People. With a nod to our past, co-founders Cyndy Scherrer, Dr. Jennifer Bloss and Angie Rester and a recognition of our incredible training team, Waggin’Tails coordinators and board members, we celebrated all the accomplishments of PHP.

Huge thank you to the Krause Funeral Homes and Cremation Service for hosting. Thank you to Shully’s Cuisine and Events for the incredible luncheon buffet. The Photobooth was donated by Sound By Design. So many people contributed their time, talents and donations to make it such a special day. What an amazing organization. It was so fun to be together with 80 attendees and 35 dogs!! Yeah Us! Here’s to 20 more years!

Pet therapy can benefit senior living residents

A number of scientific studies have shown the use of pet therapy has a measurable positive impact on heart rate, blood pressure and depression and anxiety, particularly among the elderly.

As a result, senior living facilities are increasingly integrating pets into their enrichment activities for residents.

Pets Helping People Inc., a nonprofit that helps dog owners train their pets for visits to the elderly, is even based within a senior living facility, Congregational Home in Brookfield.

“Our primary focus is to assess and to train owners and their dogs to go out into the community,” said Amy Dodge, executive director of Pets Helping People. “We have our 20th year this year. Each year, we graduate probably between 30 and 40 handler teams.”

Congregational Home has assisted living, independent living and memory care wings, and Pets Helping People does its training throughout the residential community, Dodge said.

Read the entire article as published in Milwaukee Business News

With Much Gratitude

Thank you to Mike Strehlow and the Channel 58 Sunday Morning team for the opportunity to tell our story. They did such a great job of really capturing what we do!

Huge thank you to Diane Miller & Irene, the Bahrs & Sophie, Congregational Home, our May training team (Heidi LaCosse, Diane Miller, Barb Pierce) and the May class, our amazing board and so importantly our Handlers and their big-hearted dogs who continue to care for people in need in our community.

15 Minutes With: Amy Dodge of Pets Helping People

The following article was published in M Magazine. You can read the entire article here.

Nearly 5,000 people in the Milwaukee area are touched by dog owner/therapy dog teams from Pets Helping People each year. In July, nonprofit pro Amy Dodge was named executive director of the organization, now in its 20th year, and she couldn’t be more excited about the challenges ahead.

Who or what inspires you?

I think it’s the volunteers and the dogs. When I first interviewed with this organization, I was coming off some pretty significant health issues. I’ve always volunteered and been involved with service organizations. I helped co-found Milwaukee Empty Bowls and I worked for a mental health provider, but I’ve always had that (commitment) ever since I was in high school. I heard of this organization when I was trying to find my new work home, and I just fell in love.

Read more here

First Time Grant From the Green Bay Packers Foundation

In early December several Board members from Pets Helping People attended an awards luncheon at Lambeau Field Atrium where PHP was presented with a grant award.

Earlier this year a proposal was submitted for PHP organizational support. In August our GBPF representative Board member, Thomas Cardella did a site visit to the Donor Network, a procurement organization supporting the transplant community in eastern Wisconsin, where our Board Member/Handler Team of Diane Miller and Irene visit to relieve the stress of the phone solicitors. Treasurer Janine Gruna attended as well. Mr. Cardella got to see visit hand the benefits of pet therapy. We received the notice of our award in late November. Thank you to the Green Bay Packers Foundation, Thomas Cardella, and Mike Murphy. #PackerGiveBack

PHP Receives a Donation From ORBIS

On November 9th, Kari Schmidt (President), Diane Miller (Secretary), Heidi La Cosse (Lead Trainer), Amy Dodge (Executive Director) attended a Community Giving reception and awards presentation for the 2017 recipients of ORBIS Corporation, a subsidiary of Menasha Corporation, give back program. Pets Helping People is honored to be among the 48 charitable organizations making SouthEastern WI a better place to live. Thank you to the Oconomowoc Community Action Team for your due diligence.

Pets Celebrates its 19th Graduation of 26 Teams

Saturday, September 30th marked the 19th graduation class of Pets Helping People.  26 teams officially became certified pet therapy teams.  In keeping with our tradition of celebrating with graduates (both human and dogs) we honored their accomplishment at Congregational Home a partner with Pets Helping People.  Graduation includes a brief ceremony where teams are introduced, blessed and celebrated as the continue on to support the mission of Pets Helping People. Special thanks to Joan Krause for supplying our graduating canines with wonderful homemade dog treats!  The 2016-17 graduates include the following:

Sarah Blake and Bella
Anna Deubel and Hopkin
Sara Hoskow and Jerry
Nancy Widale and Walle
Penny Alt-German and Greg Gehrman and Gracie
Judy Klatt and Lu<
Pete and Shannon Cook and Tazer
Carmen Berte and Cooper
Lee and Charles Davies and Raef
Linda Hager and Lilly Rose
Karen Munson and Lexi
Heidi Zellmer and Annie
Angela Bloch-Davis and Duke and Axel
Carol Raymonds and Java
Lindsay Charney and Boo
Gabbi Kabakchieva and Scotty
Linda Roman and Lucee
Joan Krause and Bennie

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McArthur Elementary School Highlights the Importance of Animal Therapy

Pets Helping people was the focus for McArthur Elementary School project in service learning and problem solving.  The Fearsome Sevensome was a team of children led by Elizabeth Liker that selected Pets Helping People for their project.  The team held their fundraising  event at Skateland in Ozaukee County.  The children planned the entire event from marketing, signs, a pre-event bake sale.  The effort was a success in many ways.  The team raised $800.00 that was donated to PHP.  The Fearsome Sevensome presented a skit a regional Destination Imagination.

Pets Helping People Announces a New Executive Director

Amy DodgeThe Board of Directors of PETS HELPING PEOPLE (PHP) is pleased to announce Amy Dodge has been named the new Executive Director, effective July 19. Dodge succeeds the Board of Directors managing and guiding the 19 year old non-profit organization for the past two years. The board, acting as a body, has been working hard on its governance responsibility, while board members, acting as individuals, have also stepped forward to support and help with the operations of PHP. Pets Helping People’s mission of service throughout the Greater Milwaukee Area is providing certified Animal Assisted Therapy programs and services including assessment and training. After an exhaustive organizational assessment, it was determined that an executive director was needed to propel PHP forward.

Dodge’s resume includes more than 30 years of organizational operations and business development including volunteer and staff management, marketing and budget oversight in the nonprofit sector and for-profit businesses. Her earlier career was spent with Shully’s Cuisine & Events as an Event Coordinator and more recently as Director of Operations and Marketing. Dodge was also head of Business Development with Blue Horse advertising agency. Her non-profit experience included an Executive Director position with a state-wide golf organization, a Development Director with a mental health organization and co-founder/President of Milwaukee Empty Bowls. These diverse experiences are an excellent fit for the revitalization the Pets Helping People organization is seeking.

Amy stated, “Southeastern Wisconsin has so many untold stories of doing fantastic work. Pets Helping People is one of those missions that just makes good sense. People need to hear about it and support the volunteers that are creating such incredible good-will in the community. I am honored to be part of this group and assist with the next phase of PHP.”

Kari Schmidt, President of Pets Helping People said, “We are delighted to have Amy Dodge join us with her vast experience in nonprofit. We believe this will bring opportunities to execute and implement our mission in the community.”

View entire press release here


Waukesha fairest of the fair credits Pets Helping People for her passion for animals and helping others.

Sarah Stock of Mukwonago Crowned This Fair’s Fairest
By Ashley Haynes, Freeman Staff

Sarah Stock of Mukwonago is the 2017 Fairest of the Fair. Stock is an active member of 4-H and Pets Helping People Inc. She hopes to attend veterinary school at UW-Madison to continue pursuing her love of animals.
Sarah Stock of Mukwonago is the 2017 Fairest of the Fair. Stock is an active member of 4-H and Pets Helping People Inc. She hopes to attend veterinary school at UW-Madison to continue pursuing her love of animals.

WAUKESHA — On Wednesday, opening night of this year’s Waukesha County Fair, three hopeful women arrived at the Leinie Lodge stage area to compete for the title of 2017 Fairest of the Fair. In the end, 20-year-old Mukwonago native Sarah Stock was crowned and received the title. She competed against Nicole Peschel of Waukesha and Serena Nicoll from Brookfield.

Each woman has unique goals and causes that they are passionate about. For Stock, it’s animals. This became apparent when she was asked about her involvement with the nonprofit Pets Helping People Inc.

“This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart,” said Stock. “I’ve had a lot of elderly family members in hospitals and I’ve seen how lonely they can be.”

At just 13 years old, she trained her dog Sam to be a therapy dog. By attending classes, she and her dog were able to learn how to comfort people in different scenarios. Stock will soon graduate from Carroll University and plans to attend veterinary school afterwards.

Each of the three Fairest of the Fair contestants had to answer two questions that were chosen at random and perform a 60-second radio ad they had prepared themselves.

Serena Nicoll, who won Miss Congeniality, was asked about her passion for engineering as a career option for women. The 18year-old is involved with a chapter of the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Minnesota.

“I was welcomed by an amazing group of girls that showed me women have the power and presence to do whatever they dream of,” said Nicoll.

The third and final contestant for the title was 39-yearold Nicole Peschel. She is an active participant in the Boy Scouts of America and believes that the organization has an immense impact on young boys. She is currently a Troop 4 Boy Scout leader in Waukesha.
“It can show boys that they can be self-motivated, self-sufficient and be a bigger part of the community,” said Peschel.

In the end, it was Sarah Stock who went home with the grand prize. Although the decision may have seemed quick to the crowd, the three women had already gone through a semi-final process that involved a 15-minute one-onone interview and a 15minute group interview. The 2016 Fairest of the Fair winner, Talia Spiegelberg, let the audience know exactly what Stock has in store as she embarks on a year-long journey of representing her community.

“While I’ve had plenty of attractive experiences as Fairest, what no one tells you about are the unattractive experiences,” said Spiegelberg. She recounted how she had almost fallen into a pig pen and was almost hit in the head by a tree branch as she greeted communtity members at a Fourth of July parade. Despite minor setbacks, she says being crowned Fairest was a fun experience.

The Fairest of the Fair winner serves as the official host of the fair and as an ambassador for the event throughout the entire year. The Fairest announces special events, conducts media interviews, awards ribbons and trophies, and attends meet-and-greets with the public. Fairgoers will be able to meet 2017 winner Sarah Stock at 1 p.m. today at the children’s tent.

For more information, visit www.waukeshacountyfair.com.
Email: ahaynes@conleynet.com