Heeling Friends is active in the following programs
What is R.E.A.D.®?
The Reading Education Assistance Dogs®
R.E.A.D. program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a dog.
But not just any dog.
R.E.A.D. dogs are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries and many other settings as reading companions for children.
Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA), a nonprofit organization, launched R.E.A.D. in 1999 as the first comprehensive literacy program built around the appealing idea of reading to dogs, and the program has been spreading rapidly and happily ever since!
How Does It Work?
R.E.A.D. utilizes registered therapy animals who have been trained and tested for health, safety, appropriate skills and temperament. When these special animals come to hear children read, it’s fun!
And that makes all the difference.
What? Dogs Can’t Read!
Of course they can’t. But they can be great listeners. And their presence creates an inviting and motivating environment:
Heeling Friends R.E.A.D. teams certified by ITA visit elementary schools and libraries throughout Routt County:
READING EDUCATION ASSISTANCE DOGS® AND R.E.A.D.® ARE REGISTERED SERVICE MARKS OF INTERMOUNTAIN THERAPY ANIMALS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Hospital Animal Assisted Therapy
Valerie Appel, a retired Emergency Department nurse saw a need in the community of Steamboat Springs, Colorado for animal assisted therapy services. After a year of research and working closely with Yampa Valley Medical Center, Heeling Friends started visiting with 3 pet partner teams. It has become a community success story.
Today, Heeling Friends 35 plus teams regularly visit the hospital, extended care and rehabilitation centers, as well as special treatment facilities, developmental and disabled residential centers and retirement homes.
Heeling Friends, a volunteer organization providing animal assisted therapy services for the Yampa Valley Medical Center functions as part of their Complementary Healing Services.
Special opportunities such as health fairs and blood drives finds Heeling Friends teams present to help bring down stress levels and provide a reassuring atmosphere.
Any stay at a medical facility can be daunting. It is lonely and the uncertain circumstances of the stay can be extremely difficult emotionally. To those who have at home, or have had pets in their lives, know how comforting a cold nose and a wagging tail can be.
Heeling Friends teams aim is to help patients, friends and relatives of patients, and even hospital care workers, make it through the most difficult of days.
The goal of each team’s visit is to bring comfort and smiles to all of those who they meet.