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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Jim & Lorraine Bahr … and Sophie, too! 

Washington County Volunteer Center – Champions of Change 2016
– Nominated for the Dynamic Duo Award

Nominated by Sheila Stuettgen, Aurora Medical Center – Hartford Hospital

Wash Cty Vol Sophie PicJim and Lorraine along with their dog Sophie, often come to the hospital to visit with patients and caregivers. Sophie has a great personality and has a very calming effect on the patients. As a team, they brighten the day of those struggling with significant issues both as patients and caregivers. Aurora feels so fortunate to see their smiling faces and that they share Sophie with our community.

2015 Annual Graduation

_DSC1909On Sunday, August 23 we celebrated the largest ever Graduating Class in PHP’s history.  Since August of 2014 forty (40) sensitive humans and caring canines have made the commitment to bring the joy of a cold nose and wagging tail to others.  Inspiring for all are the large number of family pairs – husbands and wives, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, committed partners.  It is particularly special when the belief in the healing power of animal interactions is shared and nurtured within the entire family. Additionally, 3 junior handlers joined our family and one owner, Ann Bruder, brought her 3 German Shepherds through our program “Harley”, “Tess” and “Cheyenne”.  “I wanted to visit too many places for just one dog.  Now, I get to take each dog to a couple places each week”, shared Ann.

Our training team of Heidi LaCosse, Erin Hennen and Diane Miller introduced the graduates and Board members took an active part in the celebration too. Janine Gruna delivered a heartwarming and very inspirational commencement address and Kari Schmidt and Tony Arsiniega lead those present in Blessings over the Handlers and Dogs.

We are so proud of all our new teams and are humbled that they chose to do this with our organization. Please welcome the…

_DSC18792014-2015 PHP Graduating Class

Wanda Adelman & Bear, German Shepherd
Erin Balisterie & Louie, Newfoundland
Nancy Baumann & Pearl, Bernese Mountain Dog
Rudy Baumann & Pearl, Bernese Mountain Dog
Mary Becker & Sheldon, Border Collie/Pointer
Anita Bemi & Doc Wu, Sheba Imu
Kathy Blu & Milo, Shih Tzu
Keighley Breeze & Parker, An Adorable Mix
Ann Bruder & Chyenne, Tess, & Harley – German Shepherds
Jack + Janna Champion & Falk, German Shorthaired Pointer
Karen Corlyn & Mitzvah, Toy Poodle
Michele Deubel & Hopkin, English Cream Golden Retriever
George Elleseg & Derby, Yellow Lab/Golden
Julie Grassel, Bear, Teddy Bear
Julie + Steph Grassel & Max, Lab/Pit Bull Mix
Amy Hansen & Libby, English Cream Golden Retreiver
Kathi Hartl + Penny Kroening & Skoki, German Shepherd Mix
Diane + Joy Holzman & Mia, Golden Doodle
Mike + Calvin Koepke & Phinn, Black Lab
Victoria La Cosse, Dottie, Aus Shep
Diane + Jack Loppnow & Holi, Golden Retriever
Jim + Molly Miller & Hazel, cockapoo/corgi
Meg Nelson & Rufus, German Wire-Haired Pointer
Sharon Piron & Keely, Golden Retriever
Sandy Robac & Lyon, Rough Collie
John Rohr + Dodi Metz & Maddy, Cotton de Tulear
Alex Shefchik & Chickendale, Black Lab
Sarah Zahorodny & Beka, Mountain Curr
Kurt + Monica Zore & Reagan, Shih Tzu/Bichon

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Congrats to our May 2015 class!

05 May Class 2015

Join us in recognizing the hard work and dedication of …

  • Amy Hansen and “Libby” her very soft English Cream Golden Retriever. Libby was the perfect angel in class and she and her owner Amy are already doing read-to-rover and volunteering with children in a number of settings.
  • Angela Janowski brought her small but oh so great of heart Miniature Pincher “Fritz” through our program. Fritz was the clown of the class – whenever he got cold and needed to rest he would reach around and pull a corner of the blanket over him!  Angela and Fritz hope to soon be visiting a number of senior facilities.
  • Molly and Jim Miller came together with their girl “Hazel” (Cockapoo/corgi mix). Molly and Jim are looking to volunteer where there is the greatest need.  (I think they are going to be very busy!!)
  • Dodi Metz joins her husband John Rohr by bringing “Maddy” through the program this month. Now both John and Dodi can begin visiting together!

We want to extend a very special thank you to Erin Hennen for the excellent work she did in leading the class activities in May.  Thank you handlers and your wonderful dogs for your spirit of volunteerism.

No fooling, give our April training class a big welcome!

04 April Class 2015

Say hello to …

  • John Rohr and “Maddy” (Coton de Tulear). Maddy is their 3rd dog to come through our program and it’s John’s first time as the handler.
  • Julie Grassel, joins her husband Mike as a handler with her own dog “Bear” (Teddy Bear). Julie will be joining Mike and his dog Phoebe in our Waggin Tails Performance troupe activities, read to rover in their daughter’s classroom and many other places.
  • Sharon Pircon and her sweet soft girl “Keely” (Golden Retriever). Sharon is currently exploring a number of places to visit.
  • Mike and his son Calvin, a junior handler, each came through our program with their very sweet Black Lab “Phinn”.

We are excited with having so many families participating in our program.  We thank our handlers for their commitment to sharing the love they have for their dogs with others and look forward to hearing their stories of healing and peace.

March 2015 brings us a small but energetic set of teams

Welcome to

  • George Elleseg and “Derby” (Lab/Golden) who have already stepped in and are doing read to rover at New Berlin Library
  • Sarah Zahorodny, junior handler and daughter of current handler Lori with their sweet dog “Beka” (Mountain Curr). Sarah will be joining our Waggin Tails Performance troupe! And
  • Alex Shefchik and “Chickendale” (Labrador Retreiver) who drove up from Racine to be a part our program.

We thank our handlers and their commitment to sharing the love they have for their dogs with others and look forward to hearing their stories of healing and peace.

Welcome our first class of 2015 which graduated in February

February 2015 Class

We’re very excited to begin 2015 with a great group of sensitive and caring teams to help us meet some of the many requests we have for cold noses and wagging tails!  Please say hi to:

  • Diane and Jack Loppnow, another husband and wife team and their sweet “Holi” (Golden Retriever),
  • Ann Bruder and her third dog Contessa, better known as “Tess” (German Shepard),
  • our Training Assistant, Victoria La Crosse, a junior handler with her 2nd dog in our program “Dottie” (Australian Shepard) and
  • Michele Deubel and her English Cream Golden Retriever, “Hopkin”.

We also want to recognize sweet “Ellie Mae” who fell ill during class and crossed the Rainbow Bridge – she has been granted “Angel Accreditation” and will long remain in our hearts and in those of her owners Geno and Dawn Smith.

Say hi to our class of November 2014

Class Photo Nov 2014

This class is full of energy and are already busy bringing warm smiles and wagging tails to others.  Please welcome

  • Kathy Blu and “Milo” (Shih Tzu);
  • Sandy Robac and “Lyon” (Rough Collie), mother of our long time junior handler Jessica (with dogs Duncan and now Jazz);
  • Ann Bruder and her second dog, “Chyenne” (German Shepard);
  • Wanda Adelman and “Bear” (German Shepard); and
  • Jack and Jana Champion, a husband and wife team, with “Falk” (German Shorthaired Pointer).

We’re very happy to have them helping us.