Therapet Foundation celebrates 15 years of helping East Texans

By Molly Reuter - bio - email

Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

EAST TEXAS (KLTV) - One group of dogs in East Texas deserves a day at the spa for the work they've been doing for more than a decade now. This month, Therapet Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary.

It is a non-profit organization that uses animals in the healing and rehabilitation of acute and chronically ill patients. We caught up with some special dogs and an East Texas woman who is always happy to see them.

"He's soft. Yes, he is," said a happy Barbara Perkins of Tyler.

That's because her friends Rebel, Aida and Gabby came to see her.

"What color is he," asked Shari Curran, Therapet's Executive Director.

"Brown, he's brown," answered 42-year-old Barbara.

Shari has been working with Barbara for about a month now. In October 2007, Barbara was in a bad accident, leaving her nearly brain dead.

"When she first came she wasn't as responsive as she is now," said Shari. "She had a tracheotomy, so she couldn't talk very clearly. She's had that taken out, and she really responds to the animals."

"Guess who this is," Shari asks Barbara. "She is the little Diva Aida."

Since she began seeing the animals, Barbara's father Sam Garza said he's seen Barbara make great strides. Doctors had to amputate part of her arm after the accident, but now she's regained movement.

"I sleep on her left side on the recliner, and she started out reaching for me, and I looked at her, and I said, Barbara it looks like you're reaching for me, and she grinned and said, I am," said Sam.

Shari said Barbara is just one example of thousands of East Texas patients that Therapet has helped the last 15 years.

"What we do now is so different from we did 15 years ago," said Shari. "I'm just excited to see what next 15, 20 years holds for us."

They are a healing organization, with the help of four legged friends that Barbara and her family say they are grateful for.

Therapet Foundation serves hospitals and clinics all over East Texas. The animals also help out during special needs camps. For more information, click on the Know More on 7 link. There you will find "Therapet Foundation."