The Newport 60+ Activity Center is hosting a presentation with Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast on Wednesday, June 29 from 2-3 p.m. Attendees will learn about this group’s mission to improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. Come meet excellent therapy animals and their handlers and learn how you can get involved in this program.
Pet Partners teams travel to a wide variety of settings and diverse communities across the country and beyond with recovering patients, people with developmental disabilities, seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease, students, veterans with PTSD, people who have been through crisis events, and those nearing the end of life.
The following people will share their experiences during this presentation:
• Caroline Spark and Rocket – Caroline Spark is a certified dog behavior consultant, professional dog trainer and co-owner of Instinct Dog Behavior & Training in Portland. With a doctorate. in psychology and a background in counseling, she has 45 years of experience helping people solve problems, achieve learning goals, and make positive changes in their own lives and the lives of their dogs. She has been involved with Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast for many years and is currently Chair of the Board. She also leads a training and support group for animal therapy teams and teams in training.
• Lynn Alexanderson and Piper – Lynn Alexanderson and Piper have been involved with Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast since 2018. Piper is a 6-year-old English Lab who has visited libraries in Toledo and Cottonwood Heights, Utah. She loves having children read to her and attend story time. Alexanderson said: “I’m a retired clinical social worker, I’ve always had dogs in my life, I love dog training and wanted to get into pet therapy after I retire.”
• Katharine Harding and Toby — Katharine Harding was first introduced to Pet Partners 30 years ago. From 2008 until COVID, she was the manager of two registered teams – Karisto and Philia. They visited patients and staff of the Portland and Lincoln County Shriners at Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital, Lakeview Memory Care and Hospice over those 12 years. When her dog, Toby, passes the assessment and Harding has raised another puppy for a year, she hopes to start offering therapy visits again. “I’ve missed my favorite volunteer work for the past two years,” she said.
• Bonnie Rimola and Riley — Bonnie Rimola and Riley became a pet therapy team in 2000 in Sacramento, California when she volunteered at Hospice SOUL (source of unconditional love). In 2011, Rimola was introduced to Pet Partners at Shriner Children’s Hospital and became a registered Pet Partner team to visit children. In 2016, she retired and moved to Seal Rock, where she and Riley discovered Oregon Coast Therapy Animals, now renamed Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast. Currently, she is the Executive Director and Team Training Coordinator for Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast.
Barb Le Boss and Magic — Barb Le Boss has been a member of Pet Partners of the Oregon Coast for 23 years. She volunteered with her dog, Buddy, for an after-school program at Yachats. There she met Caroline Spark, who introduced The Boss and Buddy to a fun interactive training. They became a registered team in 2012. Currently, The Boss and his new dog, Magic, are a team in training. “I find the human-animal connection to be one of life’s amazing interactions, both joyful and compassionate,” she said.
To attend this upcoming presentation at the Newport 60+ Activity Center and learn more about this program, go online to www.newportoregon.gov/sc and click on the “Browse Catalog and Register” banner. . For more information, stop by the office at 20 SE Second St., Newport, or call 541-265-9617. Find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NewportSeniorActivityCenter.