My name is Susan Steinhardt and my pet partner is Bailey, a 7 year old Golden Retriever. We have been members of TPGC since 2014. Bailey and I visit Our Lady of Visitation School weekly for a reading program. We currently have 10 children reading to us. We also visit Kings High School special needs classes on Fridays on a rotating schedule as well as various special events (book fairs, health fairs, exam week stress relief, etc). Prior to belonging to TPGC, I was a member of Pets Helping People for several years, visiting Kenwood Terrace Nursing Home on a weekly basis with my 2 golden retrievers (now deceased) and I also visited Children's Hospital (main campus) with one of my dogs. My professional background includes 24 years at P&G (most recently as Director of Business Intelligence Services) and 14 years as an Executive Coach working with individuals and corporations. I see several opportunities for TPGC to strengthen engagement with our members and better connect with those organizations seeking Pet Partner visits.
Most people know me as the person with Roo, the French Bulldog in the stroller, or the person with the fat bulldog named Mister. But my history with pet therapy really began in April 2004, when I joined Delta Society (now Pet Partners) with my girl, Babs, a boxer mix I found tied to a post. I later became involved in the startup of our local organization, TPGC, and was elected to serve for several years on the board. After retiring from Procter & Gamble in 2008, I became a Pet Partner Evaluator and Instructor, studied to be a Master Gardener, and to become a team member in the Southwest Ohio Critical Incident Stress Management (SWOCISM) with my dog, Maggie. This team was established to provide a form of crisis intervention, specifically designed to help emergency workers and healthcare professionals cope with the psychological stresses inherent in their professions and to prevent PTSD. In 2012, while living part-time in Youngstown, OH, I volunteered at Trumbull Memorial Hospital to start their pet therapy program while volunteering at many local facilities. In my 16 years of volunteering, I have volunteered at retirement facilities, rehab facilities, hospitals, schools, businesses, and speaking engagements. I have had wonderful experiences of sharing my pet partners with so many people. Sometimes, as you may have also experienced in your visits, we are in the right place at the right time with the right dog to really make a difference in a person's life. My dogs have given me this wonderful opportunity to provide some comfort and joy to others.
I have been a member of TPGC since 2005. I have 2 active Pet Partners, Fiona, a 7-year-old Japanese chin/cavalier mix and Chester, an 11-year-old cavalier. Both are rescues from the SPCA, where I also volunteer. Tigger, a 13-year-old sheltie, and Sunni, a 5-year-old mixed breed, are my retired Pet Partners. We regularly visit The Landing of Long Cove assisted living and Alzheimer's patients, the VA Medical Center where we visit patient rooms in addition to supporting the Addiction and Psychiatric groups, Mason Middle School where we visit autistic and disabled kids, and we support the Future Vet events at the Children's Museum where kids listen to the dogs' heartbeat and learn to assess their health. We also support various special events including book fairs, health fairs, science fairs, exam week stress relief, nursing home special events and holiday parties, Bethesda North bring your kids to work day, the Veterans Resource Event and presenting to the UC Law Dept. about TPGC. I retired from P&G in 2012 after 33 years in the engineering organization.
My name is Dr. Karin Dyke. My pet partner is Bella, a 3 year old Yorkshire terrier, Coton de Tulear mix. Bella and I have been volunteering with Pet Partners since January of 2018. I have been an educator for 30 years. For the last 12 years of my career, I taught both graduate and undergraduate special education teachers and teacher candidates. I retired in 2017 so I now find that I have time to devote to community projects for which I have a passion. Pet Partners is one of these projects for which I feel an affinity. With Pet Partners, I find that Bella and I are working with educators and children for which we are passionate. We are equally suited to work with others, such as hospital personnel, and feel like we make a difference with each day we volunteer. I see Pet Partners as an opportunity to give back to my community. It is an organization that allows me to work with Bella and be amazed at the skills she exhibits in the field. I also see authentic relationships being built with clients and this makes me proud. From the daily requests I see for volunteers, I can tell that Pet Partners is vital and growing. It is an organization that exhibits care for its clients and volunteers.
My name is Heather Hauser. I live in Edgewood, KY with my husband, two daughters (Rose, 7 and Anna, 5), two dogs, and seven guinea pigs. I became a member of Pet Partners of Greater Cincinnati in November 2018 when I tested with my first guinea pig, Rapunzel. Rapunzel was the very first therapy guinea pig in the Cincinnati area and one of only 29 in the United States. Since then I have registered with three more guinea pigs and probably more to come! As well as being a board member, I am also on the membership committee, captain of UC and Xavier visits, and an evaluation assistant. I fell in love with the work, the members, and everything pet therapy right away and just want to get more and more involved! We visit at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Transitions treatment center, the Family Nurturing Center, UC, Xavier, Fidelity, P&G, and any other special events that come up. I also just completed training and accreditation as an AACR (Animal-Assisted Crisis Response) team. In events such as natural disasters, school shootings, and other tragic situations, AACR teams are deployed to help with emotional support and comfort for the people involved. It is so much fun to have such unique therapy pets. Not many people expect to see a guinea pig during their hospital stay!
I have been a member of Pet Partners of Greater Cincinnati since 2011 and now have 3 pet partners, all rough collies (Shaunessy, Jedadiah, and Journey). I'm also currently licensed as a Team Evaluator and Volunteer Instructor for Pet Partners of Greater Cincinnati. I'm part of the East side group working out of Anderson Mercy Hospital, but I often travel to other locations (Northern Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia) to conduct evaluations for the national organization. While training and showing dogs has been a lifelong passion of mine, my therapy work has been especially rewarding. Pre-COVID, I regularly volunteered at Mercy Anderson Hospital, Clermont Mercy Hospital, and Hospice of Cincinnati. Being able to use your best friends to help others is just incredible! I do work full-time in an OB/GYN practice and have for 33 years. Though it's quite demanding, it has its own quirks and rewards. My journey from Handler to Evaluator to Instructor has now brought the opportunity to use my experience to help set the future direction of our organization as a member of the PPGC Board.
My golden doodle, Brutus, and I just passed our third two-year evaluation, so we are now in our fifth year as a therapy team. Brutus and I make four visits each week. We visit Tri-Health Arrowsprings medical center. We visit two schools each week in Lebanon, the high school and an elementary school. In both cases we work with special needs children. Finally we visit Otterbein Retirement Center each week where we visit patients in the TCU unit, as well as Alzheimer's patients in Matthews Hall. Brutus is seven years old now, and I hope we can continue doing our therapy work for many years to come. Our therapy visits are the most fun and rewarding volunteer work I have ever been involved with. I am a retired advertising executive, and as a trustee at TPGC I designed and produced our full color TPGC brochure. I worked for Kroger for 18 years where I was in charge of advertising and community relations. I left Kroger in 1993 and started my own advertising agency, JA&G advertising, whereI was CEO, for sixteen years. I have experience serving on several boards, including Crayons to Computers, a free store for teachers in Cincinnati. I have been on the board at Crayons for twelve years, and was chairman of the board for three years.
I have been doing therapy work for 27 years, have been a Therapy Team since 2000 with Delta Society which is now Pet Partners, am a Licensed Evaluator since 2004 and a Pet Partner Instructor since 2007, the same year I founded Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati. I am also the group Speaker and to the Community. We started in 2004 with a handful of Therapy Teams and have grown to over 200 members since then. In addition, I started the Therapy Dog Program at Shriners Burn Hospital for Children in Cincinnati, and I am the head of the Ronald McDonald House Program. I am also certified with the American Red Cross disaster Relief Team in Cincinnati. My Pet Partners are an active therapy team currently visiting Oncology, Neurology, Pediatrics, and Burn units at all the local hospitals. For the last few years all 5 of my Therapy Pets and myself have been very active working with children with special needs. We go to local schools to help in the class rooms. Our goals are a smile, a word, a laugh, a deep breath, a hand reaching, a trust, a step forward, a sense of self-worth, a walk outside, a small change that makes a big difference.