The following excerpt is from a speech Merrily Shultz gave to the Heart of America Kennel Club on November 14, 2001.
"Our “affiliate” was formed by a core group of us who had been doing visitation with our pets through organizations such as Pets for Life locally or Therapy Dogs International.Those organizations do wonderful work, and we enjoyed it.Watching our obedience and agility trained dogs work with patients, we marveled at their empathy and ability to spot and give extra attention to the very ill.We found that Delta Society evaluated dogs and register them on different levels.Some did visitation only.Others worked in teams with their handler and a therapist with one patient at a time.Often physicians write interaction with the dog in their orders.Delta even supports service dogs.We went to the Pets for Life board locally to see if they would like to expand their services.They decided to keep their focus as their founder envisioned.We respect that, and many of us continue to visit with Pets for Life.We just wanted to do more.
Mo-Kan Pet Partners is totally a volunteer association with no paid staff.All of our services are performed by volunteer teams free of charge. Our members contribute their talents very generously.One member, Carol Wells, designed our logo and painted our banner.Another member who is a CPA took care of our incorporation and other necessary paperwork.Shirley May helped us expand our services in an exciting new direction.Our limited funds go to communicate with the community and with members (even that cost is low because we use e-mail as much as possible) and to increase our library with publications that help our teams to work more effectively with our dogs and the people we serve.The demand for our services is great.More and more people are reading the research that documents all the benefits of animals.
The benefits of Mo-Kan Pet Partners include our evaluation and mentoring program, use of our library of publications, and our newsletter.We have resumes for our dogs so that therapists can plan ahead to use the dogs’ talents.One of our dreams is to have a seminar for our volunteer teams along with the professionals who use our services so that we can serve patients more effectively.
I knew that one of my Westies was a candidate about a day after bringing her home as a pup.We had a geriatric Westie who was losing her sight and hearing.The old dog would give a sharp bark when she got lost in the house.The puppy would go get her and bring the old dog to us.Obviously the young one could outrun the older one in fetch games.She would retrieve a couple of times, then sit and let the older one have a turn.No one taught her this.On the other hand, when the older Westie died, we eventually got another puppy.This one was a real flibbertigibbit.We worked hard on training her, and she got her TD, NA, NAJ and finally her CD. She was registered with Delta, but I had my doubts.When she walked into the first institution for her first visit you could almost see her square her shoulders and say, “I’m working!”She loves being a therapy dog."
As of June 18, 2001, the charter members of MO-KAN were:
Joyce Maas - President Merrily Shultz - Vice President
E. Joan Kemp - Treasuer Shirley May May - Recording Secretary Karen Meisenheimer - Corresponding Secretary
Rhonda & Tom Brown Jean Haley Betty J. Johnson Carol Wells Lauri M. Proulx Wendy Regehr Mary & Bill Waddington
MO-KAN PET PARTNERS P.O. Box 7496 Overland Park, KS 66207