SuperiorLand Pet Partners raising interest in pet therapy teams

Pet therapy is growing nationwide and also increasing in popularity in the Copper Country.

SuperiorLand Pet Partners is actively working to increase the number of certified pet therapy teams in the Copper Country.

SuperiorLand Pet Partners is a volunteer group in which people team up with their animals to spread love, comfort and therapy to those in our community that would enjoy or benefit from it, the organization’s website says, adding: “Although the majority of teams are dogs, we also register cats, equines, guinea pigs, llamas and alpacas,, birds, miniature pigs and rats.”

Patti Cornish, with SuperiorLand Pet Partners, said her organization is trying to grow the program in the Copper Country, saying there is a definite need for it. Places expressing interest include Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, local nursing homes, assisted living facilities, schools and college students.

Cornish said her group has had dogs at the Portage Lake District Library and at Michigan Tech for a variety of student visits.

“There’s an endless possibility of places to go for teams if we can grow the program in the Copper Country,” Cornish said.

The dogs do particularly well with reading programs, school-age children, nursing home visits, hospital visits, and also with college-aged students, said Cornish.

Due to a generous donation from the staff at Aspirus Keweenaw, SuperiorLand Pet Partners had scheduled a Handler Class free of charge for March 18, at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, but it was rescheduled for this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4p.m. The class is the first step in becoming a registered pet therapy team.

Cornish said she had spaces for 10 people and she was surprised that all 10 spaces were filled.

“I’ve reached out to order some more books,” said Cornish. “I only have 10 books, and I didn’t expect as many people to be interested as they have responded to me.”

If she can acquire more books, she said, she would be glad to have more people for a class.

It is important to note, as the organization Animals of the Pacific Northwest points out, that therapy animals are not service animals or emotional support animals, but are privately owned animals that provide affection and comfort to people in various locations.

Cornish said that SuperiorLand Pet Partners is a community partner with the national program, Pet Partners.

“Pet Partners has set the gold standard for pet therapy registration,” said Cornish. “SuperiorLand Pet Partners is the Upper Peninsula chapter, and we offer handler class training and testing for anyone in the Keweenaw who is interested.”

The Pet Partners website says the organization is the national leader in demonstrating and promoting the health and wellness benefits of animal-assisted therapy, activities, and education. With thousands of registered teams making more than 3 million visits annually, Pet Partners serves as the nation’s most diverse and respected nonprofit, registering handlers of multiple species as volunteer teams.

Pet Partners teams visit in a wide variety of settings and in various communities across the country and beyond with patients in recovery, people with intellectual disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s, students, veterans with PTSD, people who have experienced crisis events, and those approaching end of life.

Cornish said the Pet Partners website is very valuable in letting people know what the organization has to offer in terms of various programs for pet therapy.

SuperiorLand Pet Partners are actively working to increase awareness of its group and increasing the number of therapy pet/owner-teams in the Keweenaw area,

For anyone interested in more information on future handling classes from SuperiorLand Pet Partners, please call Call Patty Cornish at 906-485-5815 and leave a message.

“We offer handler class training and testing for anyone in the Keweenaw who is interested “ she said.

For more information regarding the Pet Partners program, services, requirements and registration details, please visit the organization’s website at: https://petpartners.org


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