When I reflect on the many AAT programs Charlotte and I have participated in, Jumping for Joy is one of my very favorites. It combines the best of everything: children with special needs, dogs who love and respond to children, and opportunities for the children to be successful in learning new and fun skills. And I absolutely love the fact that the program evolved from the dream of a 15-year-old animal lover. The joy on the children’s faces says it all.
If your local animal-assisted therapy organization would like to learn more about starting a Jumping for Joy program, please email Rachel through the Marin Humane Society; send requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rachel Blackman loves animals. She not only shares her home with her dog Duncan and kitty Snowflake, she also has her own pet-sitting business, No Place Like Home. A longtime Marin Humane Society volunteer— she started there when she was nine years old—Rachel and her energy and dedication have been recognized with several awards: the Center for Volunteer and Nonprofit Leadership’s Heart of Marin Student Volunteer Award (2011); the Helena & Anthony Franklin Memorial Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Youth (2012); and the Girl Scout Gold Award for her Jumping for Joy project (2013).
Kathie Meier has been part of the Marin Humane Society SH ARE program for the past 15 years. She frequents classrooms and youth programs throughout Marin County with her Bernese Mountain Dog, Charlotte.