It started with a connection. In fall 2012, I reached out to a therapy animal program director named Lori Coleman at Clay Humane. She and I immediately hit it off, as we were both building therapy animal programs and had many of the same values. Through the years in my work with Mayo Clinic's Caring Canine program, I met several others passionate about pet therapy. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that we all came from different backgrounds and experience levels, but we all had one thing in common: we wanted to grow the therapy animal community and reach more people with the healing love of pets.
So we started meeting together on a regular basis with an idea. An Expo. One afternoon of sharing our collective knowledge with others who might like to learn about this growing phenomenon called pet therapy. Within 4 or 5 months, we hosted the first Therapy Animal Expo under the name Northeast Florida Therapy Animals. I won't lie, it was a lot of work. And after that amazing October day, we didn't talk to each other much until after the new year. But by then, we were all missing the excitement of sharing our passion and we decided to go BIG.
We simplified our name and became an official nonprofit called Therapy Animal Coalition, Inc. A new chapter was born and we are furiously planning the next Therapy Animal Expo. But that's not all, we have a lot of great things planned. The first of which is our kick off Speaker Series event on May 16th at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital.
This website is going to get a huge overhaul to be more productive in moving our mission forward. We have so many exciting things in store for the future of our little organization. We hope that you will partner with us to unify the therapy animal community in our area and get more teams registered and volunteering.
Stay tuned for more announcements, including some guest authors on this blog. We are happy to have you along for the ride. Thanks for your support!!