What do a 3 legged bearded dragon, puffer fish, and a blue-tongued skink named Abby have in common? If you said they are all part of Peggy Kelley's Pet Therapy Program, you'd be right!
Peggy lives in Claremore, OK, and works as a therapist on an adolescent ward at a psychiatric hospital, Parkside, Inc. Since she was a teenager, Peggy has been working with children of all ages. After becoming a licensed professional counselor, Peggy worked at a smaller mental health facility. Having counseled several children who either accidentally or purposely harmed animals, she decided to start a pet therapy program so that she could teach children how to handle animals. Once her facility merged with Parkside, the number of patients she treated grew substantially. At this point, she turned to ABI to get the education she needed to start a pet therapy program.
Like many employers, Parkside was happy to pay for Peggy's continuing education. In fact, she was able to complete dual certificates with ABI in Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Training & Enrichment. The training she received helped her write the policies and procedures used in the pet therapy program at Parkside. She feels that the Animal Enrichment course was particularly helpful, making her more confident in her abilities to provide for the animals in her care. Peggy says that her education at ABI not only changed her work, but even the direction of her treatment incorporating animals.