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The professional award is given to animals who have provided special assistance.

2011 - Andy

Andy, an 11 year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier, from Bristol, has done more good deeds in his short life than most people do in a lifetime.

Andy has provided countless hours of service to people of all ages.  He was the first therapy dog registered for R.E.A.D (Reading Education Assistant Dogs) in Wisconsin.  Volunteer work with the R.E.A.D program was exceptionally important to Andy’s owner, Cindy Bundy, because her daughter is dyslexic and struggled with reading. This year, Andy is celebrating his tenth year as an active therapy dog.

Andy has served communities in southeastern Wisconsin as a Delta Society Pet Partner. Delta Society's Pet Partners program trains volunteers and screens volunteers and their pets for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, schools and other facilities.

Andy has attended local Boys and Girls Clubs, volunteered at child grief centers, and has attended Camp Erin, a nationally acclaimed grief camp for children.

Cindy can’t believe how many lives Andy has touched.  He provides welcomed distractions to children at grief camps and provides them with a sense of stability.

“He has a look about him that is comforting and steady. He emits an aura of genuine love and trust that have people of all ages drawn to him,” she says.

In 2008, Andy was awarded the American Kennel Clubs Honorable Mention award of Canine Excellence.  In addition, he has been awarded honorable mention to the Delta Society’s Beyond Limits award, is a Canine Good Citizen, and has his Rally Novice Obedience title.  He is only the tenth Staffordshire Bull Terrier in breed history to attain his Tracking Dog title.

“No one could have guessed that a flea infested pup from Tennessee could touch so many lives,” says Andy’s veterinarian, Dr. Jen Thelen, Westosha Veterinary Hospital, Westosha, who nominated the active canine.

2010 - Mato

Mato is a 6-year-old German Shepherd that was born in the Czech Republic and currently serves as an Appleton Police Department K9 unit. He was trained as a working dog in the Czech Republic and imported to the USA by Adlerhorst International Police K9 Academy in Riverside, Calif. in 2006.

Mato’s partner, Officer Matt McQuaid of Appleton, trained with Mato in California from September-December in 2006. Mato is trained in subject detention, tracking, and illegal drug detections.

Mato, has been on duty with officer McQuaid at the Appleton Police Department since December 2006. Officer McQuaid has a history of working with service dogs as he served in the U.S. Army as a military working dog handler from 1994-1999; he also served with the Army National Guard Military Police Unit from 1999-2005. He graduated from UW-Platteville with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2004 and has been with the Appleton Police Department since 2005.

What is most impressive about the pair is the bond that Mato and Officer McQuaid share. They are more than fellow officers, they are true partners. Mato puts his life on the line for Officer McQuaid and his community on a regular basis and is able to do things humans cannot. Mato knows when it is “time to work” and is a true professional in every sense of the word.

Mato was nominated by Drs. Lisa Peters, Bruce VanEnkevort of the Fox Valley Animal Referral Center, Appleton, and Dr. Jay Peters of Countryside Veterinary Service, Appleton.

2009 - Chloee Lee

 Chloee Lee is a registered service dog, as well as a certified therapy dog, belonging to Fran McGee.
Fran, who is in a wheelchair, also has limited use of her right hand, so the help that Chloee Lee provides is necessary for many everyday activities. She picks up any object that Fran might drop, gets food out of the fridge, brings Fran her cane, removes Fran’s socks, opens doors, as well as many other tasks. Fran taught Chloee to do all of these things, with the help of Twin Ports Dog Training Club. Chloee is even able to alert Fran at specific times to check her blood sugar level, due to her diabetes. Chloee is able to do all these things, despite having Addison’s disease.
In addition to all that Chloee Lee does for Fran, she also works in the Sensory Department at the Challenge Center in Superior, and is a therapy dog at Viewcrest Health Center in Duluth, Minn. It is said that Chloee can sense when a person is not well, and will then rest her head on their lap.
Fran's pastor, who wrote in support of Chloee Lee's nomination had this to say: "I have found Chloee to be a good dog around people and children. She would make a wonderful pet for any family, but she is much more than that. She is a servant. Not only for Fran, but for the entire community."
However, Fran describes Chloee much more simply: "Chloee is the best thing in yellow fur and four legs ever."
Chloee Lee was nominated by Dr. Monica Brilla of Northland Veterinary Service in Iron River.

 2008 - Tadhg

Tadhg is a 10-year-old Australian Cattle Dog mix, belonging to Dr. Mary-Beth Esser of Oconomowoc.

In 1998 Dr. Esser rescued Tadhg from a farm with too many dogs. Low dog on the totem pole, he was constantly on the losing end of scrapes with other dogs and had to struggle for food. However, soon after adoption Tadhg quickly demonstrated his intelligence and trusting nature. In 2000 Tadhg was certified to be a therapy dog by Delta Society, an organization that promotes the benefits of pet therapy.

Beginning their work at Regency Nursing Home in Brookfield, Mary-Beth and Tadhg got used to their new surroundings. For Tadhg, the residents were not old folks with physical limitations; they were people to visit, play with, and love.

As time went on Tadhg began working with people undergoing physical therapy, lending encouragement. He has a way of adapting to the needs of a variety of patients, enhancing their performance and function, or helping them execute a certain task, such as moving a weaker side or increasing spontaneous movement.

Another role for Tadhg is working in the Cancer Counseling Center at St. Luke’s Hospital, providing support for patients and their families. His gentle, loving presence and sense of humor, combined with his bag of tricks help ease the stress of a hospital stay. Some patients can get a little rough with petting and brushing, but Tadhg always has a calming nature, and never breaks his composure.

One person affected by Tadhg’s companionship wrote in support of his nomination, “I know I can never repay Tadhg for the love he provided. He is very remarkable and special for me and my family, and we shall never forget his love and devotion.”

Tadhg was nominated by Dr. Kimmy Casserly, of Casserly Veterinary Service in Ixonia.

2007 - Daria

Daria, a three-year-old Bouvier des Flandres, belongs to Karen Robotka of Westfield. Daria is registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc., and for the past two years Daria has been part of the Reading Education Assistance Dogs (READ) program, offering her companionship and attention at Ethel Everhard Memorial Library in Westfield. 

Some children have difficulty learning to read and get stressed, not because they aren’t capable of reading, but because they get nervous, worrying about making mistakes. All those worries make it hard to focus. However, when they read with Daria, they start to relax, and forget about feeling self-conscious or nervous. Before they know it, they are enjoying the experience of reading, instead of dreading it.

Several of the children participating in the program with Daria are home-schooled, and come to the library as part of their curriculum. Some of these children were reluctant to read and had a fear of dogs. Daria has helped them overcome both of these fears. She has a very gentle nature and a calming effect on the children.

One of the parents who wrote in support of Daria’s nomination said, “My son was very scared of dogs, and wouldn’t sit near Daria when we started the program. Her patience and friendly demeanor have helped him be more comfortable around dogs. He looks forward to reading aloud to Daria each week, and usually has to be asked to stop after over 20 minutes.”

Another parent wrote, “The reading improvement I have seen from my two girls has been amazing. They read to Daria once a week, and constantly tell me how Daria LISTENS!”

Daria was nominated by Dr. Shawn Bogdanske of Lodi Veterinary Hospital.

 2006 - Winnie

The first award to be presented is the Professional award, which is given to pets that provide specially trained assistance. Winnie is this year’s winner. She is a seven-year-old Black Lab, belonging to Pat Risch of Dodgeville.

 For the past six years, Pat, who is a Registered Nurse, has regularly brought Winnie to visit the residents of Bloomfield Manor. Bloomfield Manor is a skilled nursing facility, licensed to provide care for 85 geriatric residents.

 Winnie’s visits with the residents serve many purposes, including lifting morale, as well as providing comfort, companionship, entertainment, and social stimulation. She is known for decreasing anxiety and even has a calming effect on patients with difficulty breathing. Some patients with Alzheimer’s disease, who rarely speak, open up and talk to Winnie. They may forget the names of their care-givers, but they always remember Winnie. Winnie has also alerted staff to the needs of residents. On one occasion, Winnie ran down a hallway and sat at a doorway until staff came. She had heard someone inside crying.

 Pat does everything she can to educate others about the benefits of pet therapy for the elderly. She has spoken to area service clubs, as well as the school of nursing at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College. Because Winnie’s visits often awaken fond memories of another day and another dog, Winnie was featured in a local parade float that had the theme “Pet Therapy Triggers Memories.”

Owner/caretaker: Pat Risch 
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Alan Holter, Dodgeville Veterinary Service, Dodgeville

2005 - Rosie

Rosie is a four-year-old Alaskan Malamute, that is certified to visit the sick and elderly. She belongs to Jim and Lynn Dutcher, of Green Bay.

Jim and Lynn received Rosie in 2002. She was originally bred to be a show dog, but was ineligible, because her two bottom teeth are slightly crooked. For this reason, and because Rosie would also sometimes fight with her sister who is a show dog, her original owners decided to find Rosie a good home.

 Lynn Dutcher heard about Rosie through a co-worker. Jim and Lynn went to see Rosie and immediately fell in love. They offered money to adopt Rosie, but her owners insisted that they pay nothing, as long as they provide a good home.

 It was this act of generosity that inspired Jim to share Rosie with those who could benefit from her companionship. In 2003 Rosie was certified by Wyoming based Therapy Dogs, Inc. Since then, Rosie has been a regular visitor at Aurora Bay Care Hospital and Bishop’s Court Assisted Living Center.

Rosie draws attention and smiles wherever she goes. She uplifts the spirits of children in the pediatrics ward, patients in the intensive care unit, and people struggling in the rehab clinic. Rosie also provides inspiration for doctors and staff members she meets along the way.

Owner/caretaker: Jim and Lynn Dutcher
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Michael Fulgione from Packerland Veterinary Center

2004 - Bud White

Bud White is a seven-year-old Bichon Frise, belonging to Pam Rosecky, a massage therapist from Mineral Point. Bud works with Pam as her 'assistant'. It started about five years ago when Pam was in school for massage therapy. Pam's three girls would bring Bud on the table while she practiced massage on them. Now Pam's clients request to have Bud on the table with them during their sessions.

Pam's clients claim Bud has an intuitive sense of where people are painful or stiff. With a client's request, Bud will walk on or lick those tight and sore areas and then nestle down to sleep at the client's feet. Even clients who are a bit skeptical at first are believers in Bud by the end of the session.

Numerous letters from Pam's clients were received with Bud's nomination, each praising Bud for the difference he has made in their therapy. One woman wrote about her grandson who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He had been resistant to massage therapy, but when Bud would join him on the massage table, both would be relaxed and asleep within minutes. Another client wrote, "It's almost like Bud knows or wants to loosen up my spine for Pam and show her my back needs relaxing. His little paws feel good on the muscles."

Owner/caretaker: Pam Rosecky
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Alan Holter, Dodgeville Veterinary Service, Dodgeville

2003 - Dixie

 Summer Hesed has suffered from seizures since she was a young teenager. The hidden danger of seizures is that they can strike at any time and at any place. She once had a seizure during which she fell into a bathtub and nearly drowned. The fear of another accident had taken away Summer's independence. This made her realize she needed a constant companion.

Due to the enormous expense, purchasing a trained dog was out-of-the question for Summer. After consulting with health and assistance professionals from around the country, she learned to identify the traits she needed to look for in her search for a canine companion. With the knowledge she had gained, Summer approached the Sauk County Humane Society and asked the staff to keep an eye out for a special dog. The call finally came after two years, when the shelter found a dog that matched Summer's needs.

During their first encounter, Summer tested Dixie's response times and quickly knew she had found her perfect assistance companion. Using information she had learned during her search, Summer began training Dixie at home, with the assistance of the Wisconsin Academy of Graduate Assistance Dogs (WAGS), and teleconferencing with a trainer in North Dakota. Within four months, Dixie's seizure alerting skills began to surface. Dixie's senses have become so tuned with Summer's that she now alerts her up to an hour before a seizure. This has allowed Summer to keep a journal of the times and locations of her seizures, so she can avoid those situations. Because of Dixie, Summer's seizures have been reduced by a remarkable 30 percent. Now she can be sure she is in a safe location until the seizure has passed. This advance warning allows Summer to live a more independent life, as long as Dixie is by her side.

Owner/caretaker: Summer Hesed
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Carl Schellenberger, Hill-Dale Veterinary Hospital, Baraboo

 2002 - Maria

Maria is a professional who was trained by her owner with the help of the Wisconsin Canine Search and Recovery Association.

Each year Maria passed national certification tests through the Colorado Department of Corrections Training Academy, the Law Enforcement Bloodhound Association, and the National Police Work Dog Association. Maria has been asked to find a bank robber’s getaway route, drowning victims, disoriented psychiatric patients and many lost hikers and campers.

One night, Maria was instrumental in finding a three-year-old child and perhaps saving her life. After hours of a fruitless search by the police, Maria was called in on a case of child abduction at about 3 a.m. Earlier, an intruder had entered the child’s home when only a babysitter was there to care for her. He abducted the child at gunpoint. The police searched for hours to no avail before calling in Melissa Stormer and her dog, Maria. Although the trail of the intruder had been contaminated by the search already performed, Maria was able to pick up her trail. She found the child (unharmed) and her abductor a few miles from the child’s house. Without Maria’s help, this story may not have had a happy ending.

Owner/caretaker: Melissa Stormer
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Alan Holter, Dodgeville

2001 - Hawk

Hawk Born with cerebral palsey, Kinsley suffered years of frustrations and dependency until Hawk came into her life. When Kinsley finally received Hawk from WAGS (the Wisconsin Academy of Graduate Service Dogs) in 1995, a new world opened up to her. Lonely for years, Kinsley became the hit of the hallway in high school. Hawk even accompanied her to prom. She is now an independent woman, living in an apartment and has a part-time job.

Owner/caretaker: Kinsley Tarr
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. David Voigt, Appleton

2000 - Rufus

The loyalty and love between Rufus, a Golden Retriever, and his owner, Claire Scriba, is so great they had to share that love with others. The two began visiting the residents at Willow Ridge Nursing Home, Amery, Wis., in 1992 and became weekly visitors in 1996. At that time they also started visiting the residents at Golden Age Manor in Amery as well.

Rufus retired in 1998 and has remained a loving companion for Scriba. Nominating veterinarian David Clausen, DVM, of Apple River Animal Hospital in Amery, said Rufus and Scriba exemplified all that is good in a relationship between people and their pets.

Owner/caretaker: Claire Scriba
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. David Clausen, Amery

1999 - Murphy

When other conventional therapies failed Murphy helped strengthen those with severe and debilitating illnesses. Murphy and her owner, Lynn Malayter, has worked with a variety of patients from children to the elderly. In January of last year, Lynn and Murphy started the animal assisted therapy program at Meriter Hospital in Madison, the first program of its kind for Wisconsin hospitals. Murphy has helped patients take huge strides, including helping a four-year-old Cerebral Palsy patient take her first steps.

Owner/caretaker: Lynn Malayter
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Joseph Valenta, Madison

1998 - Apple

It took a trailblazing equine like Apple to be the first horse inducted into the Wisconsin Pet Hall of Fame. Working with people with disabilities takes skill, dedication and patience for anyone, especially a horse in a therapeutic riding program. Apple had all those characteristics and more. Apple was the most popular horse in Fond du Lac's Free S.P.I.R.I.T. Riders program in which riders use equine-oriented activities to contribute to their cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being. Apple died in the summer of 1998.

Owner/caretaker: Sheila Flucke
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Anne Berner-Clary, Fond du Lac.

1997 - Carly

"Mother of the Year," more accurately describes Carly. She is a breeding stock dog in the Leader Dogs for the Blind Program. She has given birth to 16 graduates of the program with 8 more offspring in training. Her offspring have fared much better than average in graduation and placement.

Owner/caretaker: Maggie and Jeff Weir
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Sherry Billett, Sturgeon Bay

1996 - Watson

A veterinary employee where 6-month old Watson was scheduled to be put to sleep was also a volunteer with Canine Partners for Life (CPL)and recognized Watson's potential. Watson showed service dog traits: he was people-oriented, intelligent and had a stable temperament. Watson's owner, Emily Ramsey has 13 identified kinds of seizures and often experiences several a day. He warns her up to 45 minutes in advance of an oncoming seizure by either giving a short whine or pawing Emily. This allows her the time to get to a safe place so she is not injured during the seizure.

Owner/caretaker: Emily Ramsey, age 12
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. Alvydas Arbas, Racine

1995 - Einstein

Einstein is responsible for giving his owner, Jeanne Tregonning, who is confined to a wheelchair, an independent life. As a professional service dog, Einstein is a mail carrier, door opener, obedient servant, companion, friend and family member of Jeanne. His other talents include picking objects off the floor and placing them in Jeanne's lap, and opening the front door for visitors. Einstein continually strives to make Jeanne's life even more functional.

Owner/caretaker: Jeanne Tregonning
Nominating veterinarian: Dr. David Warner, Madison

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