June 2017 – Meet the Team
When did you and Nikki become a team? – We passed our evaluation in June 2016.
What other partners have you had? – In 2002 I belonged to a Houston animal assisted therapy group called “Paws for Caring.” With my German Shepherd Holly, who had a Companion Dog Excellent obedience title, I made weekly visits to an adult day care center and to a rehab hospital.
In what type of facility are you visiting? – We make weekly StoryTails visits at West Elementary School during the school year.
In what other Therapy Animals activities do you and your partner participate? – So far we are only doing StoryTails visits.
Tell us something about your partner that we may not know. – Nikki’s sire was the 2010 National (working) Sheep Dog Champion and all of her litter mates are working sheep dogs. She also has a high working drive, so to exercise her I have her retrieve balls and toys and I also have a special stabilizing device attached to my bike so I can take her biking around the neighborhood. To keep her mentally stimulated I teach her competitive obedience exercises and some canine freestyle dance movements. One of her quirks is that she pays attention to TV commercials, quickly learns which ones feature dogs, and comes running and barking as soon as she hears one of these ads begin. Her favorite toys are her Frisbee and a big plastic ball that she pushes around the yard and tosses into the air.
What Therapy Animals leadership position(s) do you currently have? -None.
What other leadership positions have you had? – None.
Tell us something about yourself that we may not know. – I’ve had three careers, first as a professional nurse, then as a public relations specialist /freelance writer, and last as a dog trainer (now retired). After being suddenly widowed in 2008 I moved to San Antonio to live near family. I have a married daughter and three granddaughters who live here and a married son, grandson, and granddaughter who live in Houston. I’m an avid reader, love good mysteries, and my Kindle goes everywhere with me. I’ve introduced a few of the kids at West Elementary to the Harry Potter books.