The last time I was in the hospital, I remember feeling terrible. I’m a full-on farm girl, and being cooped up in that building for days on end without seeing my horse or my sheep, let alone my dogs, made for a very unhappy patient. I know I’m not the only one, either! Lots of animal lovers have been stuck in the hospital, nursing homes, or even in rehabilitation centers missing their animal buddies. One group here in Corvallis, however, is trying to soften that blow. Welcome Waggers Therapy Dogs is an organization that takes dogs into all of these places to, in short, cheer people up. They are members of Therapy Dogs Inc., which “provides registration, support, and insurance to members who are involved in volunteer animal assisted activities.” Welcome Waggers has been around for almost 22 years, and has around 20 dog and handler teams that make visits all around the Albany-Corvallis area. There is even a team located down in Duck Country. (I know, we’ll forgive them.) They have between 15 and 20 regularly scheduled visits each month, and plenty of one-time visits as well. Sometimes there are not even enough teams to go around! They are always looking for new dog and handler teams to join their effort. Interested individuals can contact Wendy McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can also visit their new website at www.welcomewaggers.org.
by Kyra Young