Big Furry Friends Animal-Assisted Therapy Team
Putting smiles on students faces since 2017
Peppermint Patty (far left), Linus (center), and Cooper (far right) have been working in a Pre-kindergarten through 5th-grade school system since the beginning of 2017. Our reading program~BFFs reading buddies, starting in September of 2017. Starting the program with two BFFs reaching a total of 20 reading BFFs, today, that come to read to the dogs on a daily basis. Throughout the day, many BFFs come to spend time with the dogs. They perform tricks together along with spending quiet quality time in the Cozy Corner. We have developed a Meet and Greet program for the BFFs to assist with decreasing separation anxiety. We provide wonderful comfort for those in need and guide the BFFs that need a brain break. Not only do we aid in decreasing anxiety, but we also help develop social skills and make a special relationship between us and the students. We make coming to school fun, exciting, and safe.
ABOUT KIM MARSH, KPA-CTP #27291
CHAIS- Certified Human-Animal Intervention Specialist
from Oakland University
American Kennel Club- Canine Good Citizenship Evaluator # 106029
Alliance of Therapy Dog Tester/Observer # 87206
HOPE Animal Assisted Crisis Response MW Region Team Leader
Hi, I am Kim Marsh and I am the Program Director of
Big Furry Friends Animal Assisted Team.
I am a Certified Specialist in Human-Animal Intervention and a graduate of Karen Pryor Academy. When I started this journey in late 2016 with Linus, I had not come to realize the magic
and joy the dogs bring to the students. Each and every day,
my eyes open up to witnessing this special moment
that occurs between the dogs and the students.
The sad faces and eyes soon turn into smiles of joy and eyes lightening up.
It's like love at first sight when they join
together for their quick 5-minute session.
When their time is up, the students are ready to go back
and take on the world.
When I first started this journey, I had to self-teach
this amazing, and magical world of Therapy dogs.
During my search, I found the opportunity
through Oakland University to become specialized
in the bond between humans and animals.
I learned the true terminology and definition of
Animal-assisted based therapy along with activities in
the educational field, social work, in the professional fields,
and leading me into the Animal-assisted coaching world.
I want to spread awareness and teach others how to utilize their therapy dog within their own practices.