Who are you and what do you do?

I am the founder and president of Atlanta Pet Partners and a pet handler/pet partner team just outside of Atlanta, GA. I created Atlanta Pet Partners in March 2011 to help patients in area hospitals, rehab centers, children’s hospitals, retirement homes and many more to live and feel better. We do this with the help of our pet therapy animals through visitations and by assisting therapy professionals’ work with patients to overcome injuries and/or health related issues. My dog, Peoples, and I are one of many pet therapy teams working with Atlanta Pet Partners, Inc. We provide this service to Atlanta and surrounding communities at no cost to facilities or patients.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I like to present new ideas to my staff and to our pet partner teams and then ask them to improve upon the idea. Together, we combine our imaginations and experiences to create a final new idea and a plan to implement it. I like to encourage my staff and teams to govern their new idea by using my FCS guidelines, which is: 1) Make if fun! 2) Make it colorful! and 3) Make it safe!

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I would like to encourage everyone to read Joe Stahlkuppe’s book called [amazon_link id=”B004LO9N4A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook [/amazon_link](paperback $12.99). Our communities are victims of media hype; that is, we all believe anything the media says without realizing that they are in business to sell advertising. News outlets are simply magazines in video form. Magazines carry editorial articles for one reason and one reason only, to sell ad space. The video media does the same thing and they chase stories that get them the most viewers. In my  example, Pit Bulls are very misrepresented in the media.

This book covers everything from the purchase of a Pit Bull to training, grooming, health and behavior. Barron’s publishes the book in a simple format with plenty of drawings, art and pictures that show the many breeds of dogs included in the media’s general phrase “Pit Bull.” The media has scared the public and as a result, town and city governments are passing BSL (Breed Specific Laws) that punish the dog and not the deed. It’s like saying Asian people know karate therefore they are dangerous and must be outlawed or put down (killed). We all know not all Asian people know karate and go around killing people just because they can. Killing Pit Bulls is as crazy as killing all Asian people in America.

What is one piece of advice that you’d like to give?

I would like to ask All people in All communities to get involved, stand up for your rights and stop allowing the media to funnel-feed you what you should think. Think for yourselves, stop panic lawmaking and search out the facts for yourself before reacting.

What is one idea that you’re going to bring to life in 2012?

I am going to bring to light just how important the human/animal bond is to our lives.

  • When we bond with an animal we also reduce our blood pressure (Allen K., 2001).
  • Pet owners have better psychological well-being (Serpel, 1990).
  • Pets decrease the feeling of loneliness and isolation (Kidd, 1994).
  • Having a pet may decrease heart attack mortality by 3%. This translates into 30,000 lives saved annually (Freeman, 1980).
  • Children exposed to pets during the first year of life have a lower frequency of allergic rhinitis and asthma (Hesselmar, 1999).
  • The list goes on…

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