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The Woofer

Therapaws celebrates Volunteer Week at Michigan Medicine events

In April, Therapaws held its annual information event at Towsley in U-M Hospital. Patients, visitors and staff interacted with the therapy dogs while learning more about the organization. The event was part of National Volunteer Week at Michigan Medicine. At the annual Volunteer Recognition event days earlier, Michigan Medicine’s Volunteer Services indicated that there are more than 2,800 people who volunteered 157,000 hours. Therapaws has about two dozen members who

contributed to those hours. Congratulations to Sue Zieske (and Lady Darla) for Honorable Mention in the Distinguished Service Award. Also during the event, an “In Memoriam” was held to honor people and therapy dogs who passed away. Sadly, nine dedicated therapy dogs crossed the Rainbow Bridge since last winter. They include Annie, Bella, Charlie, Cori, Ellie, Golda, Roxy, Rusty and Sassy. They will be missed.

Therapaws annual picnic Sunday, June 24, 1-4 p.m. Mill Pond Park, 565 W. Bennett St., Saline (fenced dog park along Raisin River) Covered pavilion Therapaws will provide sandwiches, utensils, plates There will be a Signup Genius: desserts, salads, sides and drinks Families/dogs welcome

May 2018

ATD Renewal

Teams whose membership expires on June 30 should begin the renewal process now with ATD and Therapaws. Do not delay in scheduling your dog’s appointment with the veternarian. Take the ATD online annual test (or submit the test by mail), send the renewal money and necessary paperwork. It’s also important to follow up with ATD if you have not received the updated membership card by June 15. Once the renewed ATD card is received by mail or email, you have one more step: email a copy to Therapaws. Also, if your dog no longer does therapy visits, please let us know so that we can update our records and find a replacement team (when applicable). If you have any questions, please contact us as soon as possible at *Renewals sent to Therapaws after June 30 will be assessed a $25 late fee.

May board meeting The next Therapaws of Michigan board meeting is 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 21. Any member who is interested in attendng should send an email to info@therapaws. org for the location.

Member Spotlight

“T. Rex” Dick and Monica Zillich enjoy taking therapy dog Rex for visits

What breed is Rex? Rex is a mixed breed of German Shepherd Dog and Catahoula. How long have you done pet therapy work? We started in April 2017. Gerald Nordblom observed Monica and Rex visiting her mom at Glacier Hills and monitored Rex’s progress. (The grandkids named him T. Rex.) What prompted you to volunteer for therapy dog work? What challenges, if any, happened as you embarked on this effort? Dick retired and we found the right dog at the Humane Society of Huron Valley’s Rescue Waggin’ that came north from the south. Rex remained calm in all situations at nine months and wanted to please people. What facilities do you visit and how often do you go? Why did you think these locations were a good fit for you both and Rex? Monica visits her mom at Glacier Hills often with Rex and on Wednesdays. Rex enjoys all de-stressing interactions with people from elementary schools, high schools, universities, and retirement settings. Many senior citizens recount their own dog experiences. Do you have a special moment during a visit that still resonates with you? Last May, we walked by the “rock” at Skyline High School which was painted to commemorate a student who died. A student sat there grieving at the loss of her friend. Rex walked calmly over to her and allowed the teen to wrap her arms around his neck and bury her face into his fur. Rex remained by her side and laid next to her giving quiet comfort. A relative grew up afraid in believing that all dogs bite. Although Rex was bigger than the kids, with his calm demeanor, he allowed them to acclimate with him and allay their fears of dogs. They enjoyed being with him and doing activities. Also, since then, the relative is no longer afraid of dogs. What advice would you give to new therapy dog teams? Stick with the visits. You will be rewarded by the comfort that the dog gives to others. Don’t be surprised by an unusual request, such as going to a a funeral with the therapy dog.

“Stick with the visits. You will be rewarded by the comfort that the dog gives to others.”

In case you missed it Dogs don’t always prefer their owners Dogs and owners share a special bond that’s unique compared with interactions between a canine and stranger. A new study indicates, however, that dogs do not always prefer their owners in certain situations. Researchers at Carroll College tested pet interactions with two people who provided the same petting to test whether owned dogs would prefer their owner over a stranger and whether the familiarity of the testing context would influence preference. The study also investigated if shelter and owned dogs tested with two strangers would show a preference between strangers. The findings indicated that owned dogs preferred to interact with their owners when in an unfamiliar context, but allocated more time to the stranger in a familiar context. Both shelter and owned dogs tested with two strangers showed a magnitude of preference for one stranger over the other similar to owned dogs’ preference for owners in an unfamiliar context. These results parallel what has been found in strange situation tests with owned dogs tested with their owners, but the strength of preference shown for one of two strangers indicates dogs can form a preference for one person quickly. The study appeared in the Journal of the Expermental Analysis of Behavior.

Therapy dogs are friendly, attentive listeners throughout National Reading Month March is National Reading Month, a time to celebrate children’s interest in reading, writing and literacy. Some area schools, including South Arbor Charter Academy in Ypsilanti and Owen Intermediate School in Belleville, invited Therapaws to one-day reading events. The therapy dogs listened to many young readers, as well as one parent, who selected their favorite books. For teams interested in the READ program, send an email to

Welcome new members Rose Adler & Braille Martha Campos & Lizzie Carolyn Cornillie & Ellie Lexandra Creitz & Gatsby Raissa Hinman & Hawkeye Jeanette Kibler & Stout Ellen Schwartz & Emmy Conchita Snuverink & Soleil

Workshop held on dog First AID, CPR

Therapaws of Michigan, Inc., a canine-assisted therapy program, promotes and fosters the human-animal bond in therapeutic and educational settings. Board of Directors Officers Karen OConnor, president Bobbi O’Hara, vice president Lana Berry, treasurer Lisa Jevens, secretary Directors Jessica Biondo Sue Zieske Jared Wadley Email:



Therapaws of Michigan

Therapaws held an enrichment workshop on Dog First AID and Dog CPR March 2 at the Ann Arbor Dog Training Club in Whitmore Lake. Thirty people attended the workshop that featured Dr. Lyssa Alexander of All Creatures Animal Clinic, and Jason Trojan and Jessica Hinneburg of Huron Valley Ambulance.

A+ Therapy dogs get high marks for relaxing stressed students

Hundreds of University of Michigan students were treated to 11 de-stressing events throughout April. It’s always a popular time of year as the therapy dogs get welcomed with plenty of hugs, smiles and picture taking.

The Woofer May 2018  
The Woofer May 2018