ABLEPaws is a Pet Partners Community Partner group based in Little Rock, Arkansas. They wanted to do something special in honor of National Therapy Animal Day 2019. Nancy Rowan, the group’s public relations director, tells us how they made it an extra-sweet day for the community.

Our local Dairy Queen hosts “charity days” for nonprofit organizations in the area on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday afternoons; groups can hold an event at a store and Dairy Queen donates a portion of proceeds from sales at that store during that time frame to the nonprofit. When I realized that April 30, 2019, National Therapy Animal Day, was a Tuesday, I thought, “What a perfect fit.”

I called them and asked if ABLEPaws could do our event on that day. They were very accommodating and said they would love to promote our event; they asked us to pick one of their four stores in the area. We knew that we could only receive donations from one store, but the true goal was to promote therapy animals, so I asked if we could have our therapy animal teams at all four locations. They said they had never done that before and would have to discuss it, but they called me back the very next day and said, “Yes, let’s do it.”

I quickly put out the call for teams to participate and ended up with four or five teams for each store. We all knew this would be a fun event! We made flyers and passed them out with a flurry of excitement, and had public service announcements on the local radio stations. DQ was great with putting out a Facebook announcement every day for the week leading up to National Therapy Animal Day and they even offered 99-cent mini-Blizzards in honor of the day. People got sweet treats and the sweetness of therapy dogs!

My favorite story of the day was when an ambulance pulled up and two paramedics got out and saw us. I said, “Need some doggie love?” and they rushed right over and were hugging on the dogs. One of them looked up at me and said, “You have no idea how much we really do need this. We were stuck in traffic trying to get a very ill patient from one town to another and just made it before the medicine we had ran out. As soon as we were finished we looked at each other and said: Dairy Queen. To come here and see we get puppy hugs too! This is the best! Thank you for being here.”

Great fun was had by all and we’ve all talked about how we can make this even bigger and better next year!