Therapy Dog & Handler Spotlight: Kris McNeal & Mack

At Fur and Feather Works, we are proud to support students with an interest in Therapy Dog work in pursuing this noble goal. Our Therapy Dog and Handler class helps dogs take the leap from well-trained pets to registered therapy dogs.

Is therapy work for you and your dog? Therapy Dog & Handler Spotlights help you decide. In this Spotlight, get to know Kris McNeal and her 8-year-old mixed breed Mack:

Kris, what drew you to get involved in therapy work with Mack? Having been a client of Fur and Feather Works for several years, I decided to take the Therapy Dog and Handler class in 2021 because Mack was finally mature enough to, hopefully, pass the certification process. I have done community volunteer work for years and this was something Mack and I could do together!

Tell us a little more about Mack. Where did he come from? Was anything about becoming a therapy dog particularly challenging for him? I adopted Mack from the Nevada Humane Society six years ago, so his exact age and breed are a guess. They felt he was a mix of Golden Retriever, Great Pyrenees, and maybe Malamute. He’s a big, fluffy boy! Mack struggled with different environments when he was younger, so I waited for him to be older and calm enough to handle new situations. Now he loves to visit people in many settings!

What kind of assignments do you and Mack do? Does he have a favorite? We currently go to the Downtown Library for Paws to Read , the 911 Dispatch Center, The Children’s Advocacy Center, and the Northern Nevada State Veterans Home all on a regular basis. We also go to special community events, employer events, and Washoe County School events as members of Paws 4 Love. We hope to join the Crisis Team as well. Mack loves to be petted so he is happy just about everywhere he gets attention!

Do you have any advice to share with someone who might be considering getting involved in pet therapy work? If your dog is calm around new people and situations, I would encourage you to take the Therapy Dog and Handler Class. It is very educational and will help you decide if you and your dog would enjoy this activity.

Therapy Dog and Handler class is only available a few times per year, and it can fill quickly. Get on the wait list for the next offering of this class by contacting us to express your interest! 

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