BELLEVUE, WA — Some very special dogs and people have been selected as winners of Delta Society’s Beyond Limits Awards for 2006. The awards recognize outstanding work in the field of the human-animal bond by Delta Society Pet Partners and Animal-Assisted Therapy professionals in a variety of health care facilities across the country.
Carol Triesch of San Antonio, TX, and her Golden Retriever, Jasmine, and Jacqueline Jones of Bainbridge, PA and her Border Collie, Ralph, were selected as Therapy Animal Pet Partner Teams of the Year.
Selected as Pet Partner Rookie Teams of the Year (less than two years volunteering) were Cindy Lipton of Scottsdale, AZ and her Shih Tzu, Trooper, and Sandra Owen of Littleton, CO and her dogs, Kiowa, a black Labrador Retriever mix, and Cheyenne, a Boxer mix.
Other winners include Catherine Osborne of Griffith, IN as Animal Assisted Therapy Practicing Professional; Cynthia Chandler of Denton, TX as Pet Partners Team Evaluator and Instructor; and Anne Howie of Olympia, WA in the Lifetime Achievement category.
- Carol Triesch and Jasmine volunteer in a number of facilities in San Antonio, most notably Brooks Army Medical Center. There, they work with soldiers returning from Iraq with burns and amputated limbs. They also visit the BAMC Family Assistance Center, even bringing home-cooked meals on occasion. Carol and Jasmine also visit at the Alamo Children’s Advocacy Center for abused children, two psychiatric facilities, and an AIDS hospice, and participate in a reading program at a local school.
- Well-known stars in their hometown, Jacqueline Jones and Ralph visit four hospices and have been made members of a skilled nursing facility team at a nursing center. In another rehabilitation center, they work with physical therapists in goal-oriented treatment programs. They also regularly visit an adult day care center as members of a group called “The Happy Woofers,” and participate in a children’s reading program.
- Cindy Lipton has been a speech and hearing therapist and EMT, and her work with Trooper at the Children’s Rehabilitation Services at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Phoenix touches patients, family and staff. Trooper himself was born with a congenital defect in his front legs, and his size and disability actually enhance his abilities as a co-therapist with Cindy.
- Sandra Owen found two dogs starving, abandoned and sick along a Kansas highway. Not too long after that, Sandra, Kiowa and Cheyenne became Pet Partner teams and started visiting various units at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, CO. Sandra also coordinates the “Shots for Tots” program for the local Rotary Club, with her dogs comforting the children as they get their immunizations.
- Catherine Osborne has worked with her two dogs to create goal-oriented programs for children with a wide variety of behavioral and emotional difficulties. Many success stories have ensued, with children gaining self-control and improvement of physical and social skills by interacting with the dogs and Catherine. She is currently a licensed clinical social worker at a psychiatric residential treatment center for youth and families in Kouts, IN.
- Dr. Cynthia Chandler is the founder and director of the Center for Animal Assisted Therapy at the University of North Texas in Denton, which provides education, community service and research for AAT. She teaches an AAT course at UNT, and also conducts workshops for prospective Pet Partner teams. She volunteers at a juvenile detention center with her own Pet Partners, red and white Cocker Spaniels named Rusty and Dolly. They also teamed to provide mental health services to victims of Hurricane Katrina.
- Lifetime Achievement Award winner Ann Howie and her dogs Falstaff (Great Dane / Boxer cross) and Qui (Shetland Sheepdog) became Delta Society’s first registered Pet Partner Teams back in 1990. Through the years, she has been an evaluator, instructor and researcher for Animal Assisted Therapy and Delta Society. She helped to develop Delta’s Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities & Therapy, and also authored a book, Starting a Visiting Animal Group.
Delta Society (www.deltasociety.org) is the leading international resource and advocate for the human-animal bond with the mission to improve human health through service and therapy animals. Based in Bellevue, Washington, Delta Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Delta Society was established in 1977 in Portland, Oregon, under the leadership of Michael McCulloch, MD, a psychiatrist, and Leo K. Bustad, DVM, PhD, a veterinarian and pioneer in human-animal bond.