April 30 is National Therapy Animal Day — a day to celebrate the companion animals in our lives that volunteer in our community and help make Rutland County a wonderful place to live. Therapy animals and their handlers visit in hospitals, assisted living facilities and schools.

They lower blood pressure, improve mood and help struggling readers gain proficiency. Therapy animals positively impact the lives of many people and are an asset to our community.

I am fortunate to volunteer with my two dogs, Murfee and Squeek. We volunteer at the hospital, nursing homes, grade schools and Castleton University.

It is deeply gratifying volunteer work that we enjoy doing together; bringing smiles and happiness to those we visit brightens our days, also. We are registered with Caring Canines of Southern Vermont, as therapy dog teams: https://www.caringcaninesvt.org/.

On April 30, please take a moment to thank a therapy animal, and consider whether you and your pet would enjoy this volunteer activity. We want all therapy animals to enjoy their “job” as much as we do.

Linda Barker, Murfee and Squeek

Fair Haven

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