NEW YORKThe American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) will host its first annual Animal-Assisted Therapy Awards ceremony on Wednesday, June 28 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the ASPCA headquarters, 424 East 92nd Street in New York City.
Nine ASPCA/Delta Certified “Pet Partner” teams will be recognized for their expertise and long-term dedication to the field of animal assisted activities (AAA) and/or animal-assisted therapy (AAT), both of which promote animals helping people improve their health, independence and quality of life.
“The main goal for this event is to encourage our experienced pet partnerscalled Master Pet Partnersto share their experiences with the newly certified teams in the audience,” says Dr. Stephanie LaFarge, Senior Director of Counseling Services for the ASPCA.
Michele Siegel, who has promoted the human-animal bond with her collies for more than 20 years, will receive a lifetime achievement award. Other ASPCA/Delta teams to be recognized include:
- Mario & Karen Canzoneri & Jessie, Jake, Mattie & Macie (Golden retrievers): This couple was an outstanding contributor to the ASPCA’s 9/11 program and support the ASPCA/ Delta training program. Their dogs do animal-assisted therapy work with children whose parents were killed in Iraq.
- Bill & Margaret Edwards & Nina & Madison (cats): This couple founded the North Shore Cat Sanctuary, where eight of their 50 cats are certified Pet Partners.
- David & Cherilyn Frei & Teigh & Belle (Brittany spaniels): David is the 'voice of Westminster' and Cherilyn is the Chaplain/Director of Spiritual Care of Ronald McDonald House AAT program in NYC.
- Greer Griffith & Clayton & Fauna (Labrador retrievers): Greer runs the Angel on a Leash program at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and was recently elected to the Delta Society Board of Directors.
- Sue Grundfest & Coco (French poodle): Sue is a vice president at Estee Lauder and Bide-A-Wee Board member.
- Lynne Lerner: Lynne developed the ASPCA/Delta pre-certification test, which allows the ASPCA’s adoption program to test ASPCA shelter dogs who could function as therapy dogs. Once adopted, these dogs are eligible for free obedience classes offered by the ASPCA’s AAT program. This program was developed in memory of her dog, Woody.
- Elizabeth Shieldkret, Marshall Sklar & Katie (Labrador retriever): These experienced Pet Partners have a long history of wonderful work with children with their 11-year-old black lab.
- Edna Wolf & Chablis (miniature poodle): Edna coordinates the AAT program at St. Vincent's Hospital, where she has worked for 47 years, and pioneered efforts to allow dogs into NYC hospitals for AAT.