Greater Hickory Kennel Club Coming to Abernethy Laurels

September 17, 2019

The Greater Hickory Kennel Club is hosting a free seminar and hands-on training for individuals interested in pet therapy on Oct. 26, 2019, from 10 a.m. to noon, with practice to follow, at Abernethy Laurels’ Spirit Place located at 102 Leonard Ave. in Newton.

Pet therapy is a way for individuals to help others through the use of certified canine-human partner teams. Once a handler and dog are certified through one of several reputable organizations, visits can be made in a wide variety of settings.

Respected longtime trainer and pet therapy evaluator Tina Whisnant will instruct attendees on how to get started with pet therapy, how to begin training your dog, how to become a certified team and more at the seminar. Well-behaved dogs are welcome for the hands-on portion. The public is invited to the seminar, but must pre-register. No un-registered individuals will be admitted. To register for the seminar, email [email protected] or call (828) 569-9575.

“Over the years, we have visited patients in nursing homes and hospice care, helped calm anxious travelers and brighten the days of airline staff at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, and supported new or struggling readers through the Paws to Read program at the Catawba County Library. There are so many opportunities out there to help,” said Emily Killian, a member of the Greater Hickory Kennel Club who has been making therapy dog visits for a decade after training with Whisnant. “After the visit, the majority of people are smiling and can't wait to tell others about the wonderful dog they just met. If you’re lucky, you’re able to build a long-term relationship with the people you visit. This can be bittersweet, as patients sometimes die or someone tells you a story that makes you cry, but it’s always worth it in the end to help someone unburden themselves or to help someone pass on with a little extra love in their final days. Other times, the visit is as simple as making someone’s day a little brighter.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, pet therapy can significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue in people with a range of health problems, including:

-People receiving cancer treatment, dental procedures and more

-People in long-term care facilities or receiving hospice care

-People with cardiovascular diseases

-People with dementia

-Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

-People with anxiety

This free seminar is brought to Catawba County by the Greater Hickory Kennel Club, whose mission is to preserve today’s breeds for tomorrow’s families. For more information on the club or how to join, find the club on Facebook or at