You were involved from the beginning, how was Petpals founded?
I was interested in the research in the use of animals as therapeutic intervention since college. Around 2000, while I was a member of FriendshipWorks’ Program Committee, FriendshipWorks had a grant to do a survey with residents about receiving friendly visits at Boston area nursing homes. The survey found that most did want a friendly visitor, but also, the possibility of pet visitation as well.
In the next few years, I volunteered my time in creating a pilot animal visitation program for FriendshipWorks. We were lucky to have the expertise in place for the training and screening of volunteers, but we also needed expertise in the screening of animals. We were fortunate to find help from Dr. Amy Marder, well-known animal behaviorist at the Animal Rescue League. Dr. Marder helped design the training and screening program we are still using today. Read More