We long for an affection altogether ignorant of our faults. Heaven has accorded this to us in the uncritical canine attachment.
~ George Eliot
Wonderful Animals Giving Support (WAGS) is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization dedicated to bringing people and pets together for companionship and therapy. Founded in 1999 by Linda Laun & Sharon Gretsinger, WAGS members and their registered Ambassadors have volunteered thousands of hours visiting hospitals, nursing homes, schools and other facilities throughout the region in an effort to promote and share the special, and often healing bond between humans and animals. Our growing membership currently boasts over 200 active members & 90 Ambassador Teams.
WAGS welcomes pets of different sizes, breeds, and ages! Though most of our members partner with an Ambassador companion of the canine persuasion, we are blessed with cats, rabbits, horses, and guinea pig Ambassador Teams as well.
Through community outreach events such as Bark In The Park Waggin’ Trail 5K, WAGS volunteers continually recruit new members and share the positive effect of pet therapy. A therapy pet can provide a child with encouragement and confidence while learning to read. Research has shown mental stimulation and rehabilitation occur much faster when a pet is introduced during their therapy. The uplifted moods produced by these animals when visiting senior citizens and hospital patients has a positive affect on their outlook and condition. Ambassador teams have touched the lives of many during their years of service.
The primary objective set forth by WAGS has always been to provide the information and screening required for our members who want to become a pet therapy Ambassador Team. WAGS teams are required to pass a health screening, as well as obedience, skills, and aptitude tests. As such, the teams are insured against liability while visiting. Teams must participate in ongoing training programs, continuing education and regular evaluations. Our teams provide Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) for a wide variety of individuals and groups from young children through older adults.
Through the monthly membership meetings, members have opportunities to socialize their pets, share their own experiences of facility visits , and experience continued education on pet related topics. Individuals interested in joining WAGS are always welcome to join us for a WAGS membership meeting and orientation for new members where they will meet other members, learn about our visiting teams, and the various activities and events we are involved in, and learn how to take their first steps to becoming a WAGS member. While many of our members are Ambassador Teams that volunteer and visit with their animals, you do not have to test or visit with your pet to be a member of WAGS. There are many ways to participate in the organization and we all have skills and talents to offer! You must simply enjoy animal companionship and believe that our daily lives are enriched by their presence and interaction.