Therapet begins regular visits to Breckenridge Village and Lindale Library

Therapet, an East Texas Animal Assisted Therapy nonprofit, recently began regular visits to Breckenridge Village of Tyler and the Lillie Russell Memorial Library in Lindale.

Therapet Executive Director Carianne Fisher said, “We have had a waiting list for several years because we have not had enough volunteer teams to add services to more facilities. We formed a volunteer recruitment and retention committee and we have been growing our presence on social media. The fruits of our efforts are that we can now move Breckenridge Village and the Lindale Library off of our waiting list.”

After Therapet’s first visit, Breckenridge Village resident Leigh said, “I loved loving on them! They made me feel happy and reminded me of my dog.” Jennifer said, “I really enjoyed the dogs. They were so pretty to look at and it made me feel good petting them.”

At the Lillie Russell Memorial Library, Therapet participated in the summer reading program. Parents had the opportunity to sign up for slots to have their children read to a specially trained Therapet team in a unique space in the library – a pink and brown doghouse structure. The dog house contains a special collection of books about different pets and animals, such as dogs, cats, rabbits and horses and was made possible by a partnership with Miranda Lambert’s MuttNation Foundation.

Library Director Carrie Custer explained, “We know reading to pets helps readers, especially those who are struggling, with unconditional love and friendship. We wanted a program like that for our community and our library.

Fisher said, “Several studies have found that children’s reading comprehension improves when they practice reading aloud to a dog. We think part of this may be because the dog is a non-judgmental listener and part of it just may be because it is more fun to practice with a dog.”

Although Therapet is excited to add these services, many facilities are still waiting. “Sadly, we still have nine facilities on our waiting list. We are hosting our annual Therapet Totally Unleashed event on October 14th from 6:30 -10:00 pm at K.E. Bushman’s Celebration Center in Bullard. The evening will include music by Texas Rebellion, food by 1836 Texas Kitchen, casino games, premium signature cocktails, a chance to meet some of the Therapets, and both a live and a silent auction. We hope that the funds we raise that evening will help us to train more teams so that we can move another facility or two off of the waiting list.”

When asked about how the program is being received by parents and children, Custer said, “They love it and are excited to come back! They are telling their friends and families what a great experience it is.”

Beginning in September, Therapet will be at the Lillie Russell Memorial Library two Saturday mornings each month. Therapet is currently visiting Breckenridge Village twice each month as well. “It’s good being around them, said Breckenridge Village resident Stephen, “I want Therapet to come back to BVT.”


About Breckenridge Village of Tyler:

Breckenridge Village of Tyler is a caring residential community for adults with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. BVT programs and activities are designed to help residents develop the skills they need to achieve their God-given potential.


About Lillie Russell Memorial Library:

A 501(c)(3) non-profit library that aids the City of Lindale and LISD with literacy, the Lillie Russell Memorial Library is a place where patrons can cool off during the summer and cozy up with a book during the winter.



About Therapet:

Formed in 1994, Therapet is the premier Animal Assisted Therapy organization in East Texas with over 100 volunteer human–animal teams bringing Health, Hope, and Healing to those in need. Therapet is located in Tyler, Texas and is a completely donor-supported, local, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

To learn more about Therapet, please visit our website at, our Facebook page, Therapet: Animal Assisted Therapy, or our Youtube Channel TherapetAAT.


“One of my favorite Therapet visits was a few years ago. We were on one of the ICU blocks and a nurse told us one patient had been there about a week and was unresponsive. We went into her room and she had several visitors. Tripp (a greyhound) put his head on the bed and we took the woman’s hand and placed it on his head. I started talking with one of the family members and wasn’t really paying attention to what was happening. It had been a couple minutes and one of the other visitors said ‘Oh my gosh!!! She’s moving her head!!’ The patient had moved her head to look at Tripp and had a tiny smile on her face. The nurses couldn’t believe it!
The patient acknowledged each of the other three Therapets who visited with her that day in some way. The doctor in the ICU said these animals were able to do in a few minutes what medical science hadn’t been able to do in a week. I still think about her and I’m so thankful to have been a part of that visit. It’s why we do what we do.” #therapetthursday #therapetaat #healingpaws #smallmiracles


A patient had been hospitalized for over a month and was tired of therapy. At first he didn’t really participate in pet therapy, but as time progressed he showed more of an interest. He now initiates grooming and petting of the dogs and his motor skills are much more improved and noticeable with the therapy animals. The Therapets have also brought comfort for him during his stay! #pettherapy #healingpaws #therapetthursday


After a visit to a local hospital, we had the following review posted on our timeline:
“Oh, how we needed those puppy smiles tonight! Thank you, Therapet, for sharing Rocky, Kirby, Buster, and Sophie with us! We were missing our brood of pups so your timing was impeccable!”
#therapetthursday #therapydog #healingpaws


At a recent visit, an ER Nurse caught the Therapet volunteers in the lobby before visitation. She got on the floor and hugged and loved the dogs and smiled and talked about what a rough day it was in the ER. She said she had shed tears several times throughout the day, but she was SO glad she had to stay late because she really needed to get some smiles and uplifted spirits before she went home. The staff just beamed with smiles as the dogs ministered to their hearts.
#therapetthursday #healingpaws #therapydog


An ICU nurse requested that the Therapet teams visit one of her patients. She said that the patient was non-verbal, but she thought she would benefit from seeing the dogs. The volunteers observed that the patient would make and maintain eye contact for about 10 seconds at a time. When Henry, the second dog, came into the room, they tried to get the patient’s attention and told her several times that Henry was there. The patient made and held eye contact with Henry for about 15 seconds and then said, “Henry.” #therapetaat #chills #smallmiracles


This Saturday, Therapet is the nonprofit selected by True Vine Brewing Company to benefit from their Open Taps event from 5 -9 pm. We hope you will stop by to try some local brews and to learn more about Therapet. If you haven’t been in the True Vine Backyard, it feels like you have gone to Austin without leaving Tyler! We hope you’ll come and hang out with us! #therapetthursday #opentaps



What are teachers saying about Therapet? Here are a couple of comments teachers made during a recent visit to Boshears Center for Exceptional Programs:
“Having the Therapets come in, my students are able to achieve things they have not been able to before.”
“One of my students only walks while holding on to the wall, but when she walks a Therapet she forgets about holding the wall and walks perfectly.”
#therapetthursday #specialneeds #healingpaws #boshears


Part of Therapet’s mission is to spread the word to healthcare professionals and the community about the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy.
Several of our volunteers were honored to present at the Christus Mother Frances Leadership Development Institute on January 20, 2017. They spoke about utilizing specially trained and certified therapy animals to provide therapy services with patients. A big thank you to Karen Reed and Boone, Crystal Jones and Miss Texana, Bonnie Maywhort, Joy Shea and Swagger, and Teri Crawford for making it all happen. Many smiles and snuggles were shared with the 350 attendees!
#TherapetThursday #Therapetaat #HealingPaws