I’m back from presenting a workshop on starting and funding a pet therapy program at the American Holistic Nurses Association Conference in Colorado Springs. In future posts I will share some of the fund raising tools that have worked for us at Paws with a Purpose, but I wanted to say a special thanks to the two Delta Society pet partners who participated in our workshop. Both dogs had interesting stories. Lacey, a lovely golden retriever, was originally trained as a hearing assistance dog by a prison inmate, in a program where prisoners teach dogs basic obedience skills. Although Lacey did not become a service dog, she found her calling as a therapy dog and became registered with Delta. She works with American Humane Association’s Animal-Assisted Therapy and the American Red Cross K-9 Therapy programs, visiting a variety of military and health care facilities, and is especially gifted at working with disabled military veterans. The other pet partner, Ladybug, is a cute-as-a-bug Yorkie. Ladybug came from a puppy mill situation and had no idea how to act like a normal dog. She simply froze, if asked to do anything. She spent an entire obedience class standing in one spot, refusing to move or react in any way. Her new family worked hard to bring her out of her shell, and discovered that she loved children and also loved agility work. Through much patience and love, Ladybug learned to trust and love back, and became a registered therapy dog, also serving with the Red Cross K-9 Therapy program. At the conclusion of our workshop, both Lacey and Ladybug were the center of attention as attendees crowded around to meet them. It was heartwarming and inspiring to see these two dogs spreading smiles, comfort and love to a room full of strangers, and to think of the hearts that they heal every day.