March 2017 Newsletter
by Cheryl Cohen on 3/19/2017

                      I hope everyone had a safe and fun St. Patrick's Day!

Paws Patrol-Pet Partners held our Semi-Annual Meeting on March 5th, 2017.

Minutes are as follow:

Old Business:

- Our last meeting was held July 29, 2016

-Special guests in attendance were Meg and Max Farris, Jessica Andrews and Misty Whisman of Pruitt Hospice. 

We are delighted to say that Meg Farris has since become a member with her sweet Italian Greyhound, Fig. Meg has been very involved, quite supportive and active with our group events and visits.  Max has also been very supportive and is always willing to help out with events. Meg is currently working with her other Italian Greyhound, Rocco, and we hope that he will be able to join our group soon. We also need to get Max on board for visits. Thank you both for being involved, we appreciate our new teams.

Jessica Andrews and her Blue Healer have also joined our group, but Jessica has been quite busy with her studies. She does keep in touch and we hope to see her and Blue again soon.

- Twenty five sets of magnets were purchased at a cost of $512.00, but they should last us at least a year and a half. Try to store your magnets on a flat surface to keep the edges from curling. They have been known to disappear or get blown off on occasion.  

- Pro 1 has agreed to sew logos on shirts, blouses, bags or etc., for a cost of $8.00/logo. You may purchase items from their catalog or bring in your own items to be embroidered. They do have a new catalog of items that is available in the shop, or I will have one also.

- Phoebe Volunteers need to make sure they have made a copy of their badges upon receiving or renewing them from Pet Partners, as well as a copy of your dog's updated vaccine records and/or rabies certificate. I always make copies when I get home from the Vet and put them in my bag, that way I always have a copy with me. Then you just have to remember to stop into the Volunteer Service Dept. and turn them in. The carts that we purchased are working quite well and prove to be a good investment.

- The Christmas Parade was a lot of fun for all of those that participated. We had a blast, as did the dogs. Two couples, who are friends of Betty and Bill Livingston helped us with carrying the banner and passing out candy. I mailed them ea a thank you note with a $20.00 gift card. We are hoping for a larger group to participate next year and hope to plan a Pizza Party after the parade. I purchased some costumes on clearance after the holidays planning for next year. These are for the humans to wear and we can put festive bandannas on the dogs. We can also decorate the dogs vest with festive decorations.

New Business: 

- The last Workshop was held January 28th and we had six in attendance. Our next Workshop is scheduled for April 15th, 2017. We will need volunteers to help stage visiting scenarios, so please help out with this if you are available. We already have one person signed up, but I am expecting a few more to sign up.

-We had a visitor join us for a visit at Evergreen and I am hoping that he will be taking the next Workshop.

-We have scheduled evaluations for Saturday, March 25th. Please check the expiration date on your badge and sign up for a renewal if this date is convenient. Currently we only have one scheduled evaluation. It would be preferable to have at least two or three to complete at a time.

- Albany Strong activity day for those effected by the storm is scheduled for this coming Saturday and our time slot is from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM. We have four signed up, but sure could use some more teams to assist. Please consider helping out with this worthwhile event.

- I have purchased new bandannas with our Paws Patrol-Pet Partners logo from Monograms and More. I have five sizes in each gold, chocolate and raspberry. Please let me know if you would like to purchase one, the cost is $8.00 each, payable to me. Ms Jane at Monograms and More will put your dogs name on them at no additional charge. This will cut down on the wait time to get them to our new teams. 

Fund raising:

We are trying to come up with some new ideas to help raise funds.

Leigh Windham did a fantastic job representing us in the Snickers Marathon and we raised over $700.00 in pledges/donations. I am still in the process of collecting the funds, but have already received over $500.00 of it. We only planned this ten days prior to the event. Next year we will plan earlier and hopefully will have a better turn out for the cheering section. Traffic being interupted due to the race presented a problem for some getting here. Meg, Max, Fig and Rocco were able to walk over. We are thinking that next year we might meet in the parking lot of Doublegate Country Club. I am thinking that maybe we can get a Paws Patrol arm band for our runners to wear. Thank you Leigh!

We have our annual Pet Partners Bake Sale, "Sweets and Treats Day" on April 29th to celebrate National Animal Therapy Day. As a Pet Partner Community Partner we are required to participate. Last year we raised/donated at least $340.00 out of our sales and we still had a deposit of nearly $1,700.00. I hope to be able to match that this year. I still need to check the location for this event taking place on Saturday, April 29th, since Tift Park is still being cleaned up, i will do that early this week. We actually set up three Saturdays last year to sell our goods and talked about scheduling two Saturdays this year, but after looking at how busy the calendar is (and I will be busy placing my mother in assisted living here in Albany during April), I have decided to only schedule one Saturday for the bake sale this year. We worked so hard last year, but I figure if we do a couple of different fund raisers then we shouldn't have to work so hard on any given one. Included in this discussion during our meeting were Paula, Beverly, Betty and Sandy, and I would like your thoughts ladies.

We are getting together to bake dog treats. Last year we made these in advance and we can freeze them if need be. We will be getting together at my home on Friday, April 14th to bake dog treats. I have put this on our calendar already. I will also be baking the morning of Friday, April 28th and will add it to the calendar also. Please sign up and come over and join me if you are available. We need everyone to bake a couple of items to contribute, but remember all of the ingredients need to be listed on the outside of every package. We used address labels last year and it seemed to work well. Betty Livingston has come up with some bakers that are willing to donate items for us. Yoder's is one of them! 

I am thinking about approaching some of the local restaurants for a night of "Paws Patrol-Pet Partners" sponsorship to help raise funds. We could have our dog teams on site for this event to help attract customers. Let me know if you know anyone in the business that might be willing to do this for our group.

Beverly had the idea to create a calendar of our furry companions to sell around the holidays, great idea! Beverly, Betty and I are currently trying to get this together. I think it will be very cute. Please let us know if you would like to help with this project! We need to get it together in a hurry to sell around October or November.

-Calendar Changes:

We have had some calendar changes that I would like to mention.

Phoebe Assisted Living requested we visit on Tuesdays instead of Thursdays, since we always visit Evergreen after wards, I had to check with them as well. It turns out that this is doable for Evergreen and we will begin the change with the May Calendar. 

We have finally split Phoebe Sumter and Magnolia Manor-Americus to separate days. They both still remain on Wednesdays, but just different weeks. 

We have taken Lee County Transitional Learning Center off of the calendar for now, but we hope to be able to schedule a Humane education Class at least once a semester next year.

Our Lee County Library visits will decrease during the summer and I will let you know those changes when I get them.

Dougherty County Library will continue with the Saturday visits, but we will take the Monday evening visits off for the summer.

AARC/Lions will not take place during the summer due the Albany State Nursing Program that they have scheduled.

We have always, traditionally, taken August off due to the extreme temperatures and will continue to take it off this year.

Our Spotlight Volunteer team for March:

Mac Walters and Muffin

        I got Muffin at six weeks old and by the time Muffin was a year old, it became evident to me that she was quite intelligent and needed to be working at something. I didn't know what to do with her and then we were invited to join a search and rescue team. She picked up on what she was supposed to be doing very quickly and it wasn't long before she was finding people and showing them to me. I was growing older and slowing down and couldn't keep up with her in the woods, so I pulled her out and we sat at home for about six months. We were approached and asked about going into Pet Therapy. We decided that we would try it and see where it led us to. I was put in touch with Ms. Angie Zapata in Columbus and went there to get our registration. I thought that Ms. Angie would be teaching the class, but instead Ms. Marty taught the class. Before she left that day she gave me all the information I needed to be able to get in touch with her. I at first thought I would be working with Ms Angie in Columbus, but by the time Ms. Marty was through with the class, she and I had bonded and I knew Albany was where I would start working. We went there on our first outing and Muffin seemed to really like meeting the people and getting all the attention. From there, Muffin and I found our calling and something we were both very happy doing. I couldn't afford to drive to Albany each week and was about to pull out of Pet Therapy, but Ms. Marty wouldn't let me and shortly therafter I learned that Magnolia Manor of Marion County was looking for a pet therapy team. I went and interviewed with them and was hired on the spot. The patients fell in love with Muffin and they gather every Thursday to meet and greet Muffin. What is it that keeps us going there and also working with Gentiva, well for one it is the love that we encounter while we are there and second it is the results we see in poeple after they  have visitied with Muffin a time or two. We have one lady who would not have anything to do with Muffin when we first met, but now she has a smile on her face and can't wait to give Muffin some apple and pet her. It is incidents like these that humble our hearts and make us want to do more for the patients. Muffin and I just want to give a little joy to those who have had to leave their pets behind, but can still have the joy of a pet in which they can love and touch. I truly believe that Pet Therapy is more than just Therapy, I believe that it is truly good for the heart and soul. (Mac is a retired Veteran, thank you Mac for your service and for all you and Muffin do for our mission!)

Please continue to keep Barbara, Richard and Charlye Harden in your thoughts and prayers!  

March Birthdays: 

Happy Birthday to Jessica Andrews, Francine Clinkscales, Amy Heidt, Darby Kilpatrick, Betty Livingston, Sue Loiselle and Becky McCleary!!!!