Those of us with pets already know the inexplicable healing power of the company of a furry companion. Mid South Therapy Dogs and Friends is a local nonprofit providing all people with the opportunity to experience the magic of the human-animal bond. The organization has been providing animal-assisted interactions in health care facilities, schools, libraries, and youth facilities throughout the River City since 1999.
Beyond the professional animal-assisted activities/animal-assisted therapy (AAA/AAT) services offered in health care facilities, the nonprofit also consults with the groups they serve to assist with the development of a Therapy Animal Program. Certified evaluators and instructors train and evaluate aspiring therapy-handler-animal teams to provide these life-changing services throughout the Mid South.
"Kids are drawn to the therapy animals because they don’t tell them what to do, says Angela Hamblen-Kelly, Director, Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief. "Campers tell the animals their secrets. Some cry to the animals. They also help some of the campers who are disengaged; they are more drawn to the animals. And somehow, the animals just know who needs them," she says.