On Tuesday, May 9, six teams from Pets Helping People went to Mashuda Hall on the Marquette University campus. We were there during final exams. The students enjoyed being able to take a few minutes out of their hectic schedules to be calm with our dogs. And our dogs enjoyed all the attention they received from the students.
On April 29, Pets Helping People gave a presentation on the benefits of Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) to Mensa of Wisconsin at the Osthoff Resort. We had 8 teams, including 2 of our youngest volunteers at the event. It was informative and lots of fun!
On Friday, April 28, Pets Helping People participated in High Interest Day at Wilson School in West Allis. PHP has been part of High Interest Day for many years. About 80 children in K5 learned how to meet a strange dog, to safely give a dog a treat, and got to meet and play with dogs from seven of our teams.
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Celebrating Passover in the Jewish community included a visit from our pet therapy teams. Teams spent time on this large Milwaukee area campus with children of all ages along with the staff. JCC contacted PETS recently to provide them with some stress relief due recent stressful circumstances that occurred in their community. Teams answered the call by providing animal assisted therapy to help relieve tension through animal interactions that included lots of wagging tails, pets and kisses.
Several teams joined UW-West Bend during finals week 12/14. Students got to relieve some of their stress and interact with our teams. There is nothing like spending some time with a dog to de-stress after weeks of studying and exams. Students enjoyed the down time and were able to take a breather with some great dogs and their owners.
Although it was exam time, December 2 was a good day for students at the Medical College of Wisconsin. With special thanks to Sparky, Cheyenne, Holi, Sophie, Milo, Rosie, Libby, Bernie, Mitzvah and Lucky, the students were distracted from the stress of exams and were able to spend some time with some of our special dogs. The dogs were petted and hugged, the students were licked and kissed, and everyone was happy. Those cold noses and wagging tails did the trick!!
Nearly 100 students came to visit the dogs during the two hour visit that Friday. We heard comments such as “I wish you guys could come every day!” and “What a nice break from studying!” and “I feel so much better after meeting these great dogs!”
It was a wonderful afternoon with smiles and wagging tails in great abundance. We are so grateful to our handlers, Sharon Pauley, Ann Bruder, Diane Loppnow, Jim Bahr, Kathy Bue, Judi Goetzke, Amy Hansen, Linda Timm, Karen Corlyn and Julie Darnieder for giving up their time to make this event happen, and for sharing their wonderful dogs with the medical students.
Papu, an Adult Day Services client, plays peek-a-boo with Lula, a small Pomeranian pet therapy dog, as she happily sits on his wheelchair lap tray. Through a partnership with Pets Helping People, pet therapy has become an enjoyable and meaningful time for Curative’s clients with disabilities or limiting conditions like Papu. Initially, Papu was reluctant to have Lula near him. He used to cover his face to “hide” from the dog. After routinely being introduced to Lula and her handler, Janine, Papu let the dog sit on his wheelchair tray, but he was still reluctant to pet the dog. As time progressed, he agreed to let Lula give him kisses on his hand. He slowly turned “hiding” from the dog into a game of peek-a-boo where he covers his face with his hands and waits for Lula to find him. When Papu pulls his hands down from his face, he is always wearing a beaming smile and laughing. While Papu played games with Lula, he became comfortable with allowing her to brush up against the back of his hand. He then progressed to petting Lula with a closed fist, and recently has begun to pet Lula with an open hand. Papu and Lula have created a special bond through their visits. Over the course of a few years, Papu has received many benefits from Pets Helping People. Pet therapy offers a number of sensory stimulations, including touching the dog’s fur and feeling her wet nose. Papu and other Curative clients increase self-esteem and self-worth through their interactions with dogs, like Lula.
[pullquote4 quotes=”true” align=”center”]The smiles Lula and other therapy dogs provide to our clients are endless and heartwarming. The ability to feel the love and affection of the dogs is something few of our clients would have an opportunity to do without our Pets Helping People volunteer teams. We look forward to our continued partnership with thousands of more smiles to come. –Tony Arsiniega, Adult Day Services.[/pullquote4]
Pet handler Mark Schaefer with therapy dog Riley, visit a lunch and learn at Snap on Tools to share with more than 50 employees the work therapy teams do and the healing that comes from pet assisted therapy. Riley is showing off his talent by doing a “high” five!
It’s not unusual for Pets to do community outreach. Once such event was held at the Milwaukee Catholic Home. Janine Gruna, Pets board member addressed the Pilot Club of Milwaukee. The Pilot club is a service club dedicated to enriching the community through volunteer service. Their focus is on helping people who experience brain related disorders, such as autism, Alzheimer’s, depression etc. The Milwaukee club is a branch of the Pilot International and was established in 1952.
During the Pets visit, members and residents got to learn about the Pets organization, visit with 5 pet therapy teams. And were treated to a special demonstration of the training expectations and skills of both the animal a handler teams. Each team shared a story of the extraordinary bond animals and humans can have and how that bond can provide extensive healing, help and support to those afflicted with brain disorders.
Afterwards, the teams socialized, and provided entertainment in the form of tricks, wagging tails and wet noses.
On April 22, the Medical College of Wisconsin opened its doors and welcomed several pet -handler teams to campus for a “De-stress” event for medical students. The room was full of excitement and smiles! Medical students were welcome to come in and just say hello to any of the dogs who came to visit. It was hard to say who had more fun, the dogs, the handlers or the students. Students moved from dog to dog, giving strokes and hugs and getting lots of kisses and tail wags in return. Medical students were in the midst of studying for very important and difficult exams and were very happy to have this window of time to just forget about the exams and receive some non-conditional love from some of our wonderful dogs. Several students commented that they had been looking forward to the event all week, and that being able to spend some time with the dogs made their day. It was a great afternoon for all involved!
Pets Helping People
821 E Buttles Place
Milwaukee, WI 53217-2414