WEST CHESTER, Ohio - Our weekly feature shines the spotlight on those unsung heroes among us: people who do good things for others every day, whether as a volunteer or as part of their job.
- WHO: Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati
- WHAT THEY DO: Offer animal-assisted activities and therapy in health care facilities, group homes and schools
- WHERE THEY DO IT: West Chester
When executive director Glenna Mockbee founded the organization in 2004, there were four volunteers. Today there are 200, serving Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.
Therapy Pets provide three types of service:
1. Animal-assisted activity involves taking pets to visit people who may not otherwise interact with animals, like the home-bound and those in long-term care facilities. The visits are informal, without particular agenda or goal beyond fun and interaction.
2. Animal-assisted therapy is more formal-with specified goals and objectives, and volunteers track performance and results. For example, Mockbee often uses animal-assisted therapy to help autistic children learn to communicate and follow directions.
3. Pages ‘N Paws is a program created to improve children’s literacy skills by allowing them to read to dogs.
Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati also benefits hospital employees and family members of hospice patients.
The organization formed 10 years ago, but Mockbee has been offering animal-assisted activity and therapy for 27 years. As a patient advocate at a local hospital, she asked patients what she could do to make their stays better. After repeatedly hearing that people missed their pets, Mockbee brought her own cat and dog to the hospital to visit patients.
“It’s so nice to be able to help people and put a smile on someone’s face. To see a child or an adult who cannot walk stand up. To see the ability of an animal and what they can do to inspire them to try,” she said.
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How you can make a difference
Those who wish to volunteer with Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati must get their animal certified to be in the group. This requires attending a workshop or taking an online test. The pet must then be evaluated and enter a mentoring system. Any domesticated animal that is certified can be in the program.
Individuals who do not have pets can get registered certification to help test animals, represent the organization at events or be a facilitator for animal-assisted activities and therapy.
Monetary donations also are accepted. Checks payable to Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati can be mailed to:
Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati
P.O. Box 1392
West Chester, OH 45071
Connect with Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati:
- Facebook Page
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Telephone: (513) 604-9108