This month’s volunteer spotlight is on Teri Fotheringham of Denver Pet Partners. Denver Pet Partners is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the Human-Animal Bond to improve quality of life, benefit human-animal interaction and enhance animal-assisted interaction services in Colorado.
Teri began working with us in September at the Lowry Campus. She originally became familiar with Third Way Center after attending a CAFCA event (Colorado Association of Family and Children Agencies) and really liked the therapists that she met. Teri works with her dog Rhett primarily at our Lowry Campus but we hope to extend our relationship with Pet Partners in the future to include other campuses.
An animal lover since birth, Teri minored in psychology in college and knew she wanted to work in some respect, in that field. Therapy dogs were exactly what she had been searching for and began looking at rescue sites to find the right dog to be her partner. Teri says, “Rhett is the perfect therapy dog in every way and I could not have asked for a better partner. He does all the work and I am content to be at the other end of the leash.”
Teri’s inspiration to volunteer stems from her relationship with Rhett and being able to help kids. She is constantly researching how trauma affects children and watching Rhett do his magic is always a thrill especially when kids feel free to open up while petting him.
From birth Teri’s mom was physically handicapped and she often struggled with the embarrassment and being bullied by other children. She also struggled with being around people who were “not normal”. She desperately wanted to get over being uncomfortable around handicapped, abused, and traumatized people. Being with Rhett has allowed her to feel much more comfortable and relaxed enough to really get to know others AND herself better.
“My hope is to help kids I work with even if it’s only for an hour. To show them, through Rhett what unconditional love could bring them. To hopefully have them open up about things the therapist is working on through their involvement with Rhett.”
Thank you Teri for your commitment to working with our kids and showing them what unconditional love looks like. We appreciate all you do in the community and are excited to see what 2016 will bring for you and Rhett.
Thank you Pandora on the Hill for sponsoring our Volunteer Spotlight.