2009-02-05 / About Town

February is pet therapy month at the library

The Jamestown library will offer two programs on Saturday, Feb. 14, in honor of pet assisted therapy month at the library. Both programs will take place at 10 a.m.

Adults can meet Pearl Salotto, developer/director of the D.J. Pet Assisted Therapy University Certifi cate Program, and one of her credentialed, family therapy pets, Panda Girl and Maj-En.

Pearl, originally inspired by her family therapy pet, D.J, in 1986, is a leading spokesperson for the professionalization of pet assisted therapy. She is also known for her expertise in pet assisted therapy curriculum development, as well as for her work in ethics, legislation, and public policy regarding people and animals. Salotto's recently published book, "Pet Assisted Therapy, A Loving Intervention and an Emerging Profession Leading to a Friendlier, Healthier, and More Peaceful World," is one of the most comprehensive academic texts in the field.

Salotto, along with Brenda Stone, president of the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy and Cynthia Vanaudenhove of Windwalker and the Aga'Pet Professional Assisted Therapy Team, will introduce you to professional pet assisted therapy and its benefits to society. Windwalker has been advocating for the role of animals in people's lives since 1995. Aga'Pet is a PPAT Team comprised of Cynthia and her family pet Abbie, a Springer Spaniel, who offer "unconditional love" to those in need at Eleanor Slater Hospital/Zambarano Unit, Fatima Hospital and the Mt. St. Rita Health Care Center, as well as Abigail's Bible "Tails" at the New Hope Baptist Church.

Children ages 3 and up can meet and greet author Laura Backman and her duck, Lemon. Laura will read her new book "Lemon the Duck", followed by a craft. One of four Peking ducks hatched in a kindergarten classroom in April 2006, Lemon was born with neurological issues which affect coordination and balance. While Lemon is unable to stand or walk, Laura Backman, a reading specialist grade school teacher and Lemon lead interesting lives, helping children to understand about the physically or mentally challenged.

All Professional Pet Assisted Therapy February events at R.I. libraries in 2009 are co-sponsored, developed, and run by the D.J. Pet Assisted Therapy University Certificate Program, the Aga'Pet Professional Pet Assisted Therapy Team and the Windwalker Humane Coalition for Professional Pet Assisted Therapy. Learn more about these organizations and the people who run them. The programs are free and open to the public. Registration for one or both programs is recommended.

For more information contact Andy Wassel at 423-2326, Pearl Salotto at 734-1888 or visit www. djppat.com.

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