4-H PetPALS (People and Animals Linked Successfully) has arrived in Fayette County. After two long years of postponement due to COVID, 4-H PetPALS Advisor Dr. Steve Schrader has realized his vision of bringing this educational and civic-minded organization to the youth of this county.
The 4-H PetPALS organization aims to bring students and their pets together with senior adults at nursing homes and other facilities in the community. Beginning in June 2022, four students and their respective adult partners began the training sessions for the program. In late September 2022, each student completed the appropriate testing to approve their pets for visiting residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as any individuals with special needs.
The club has a variety of pets represented. Laine Holstein, a freshman at Miami Trace High School, completed the program and was certified with her dog, Frito, and her cat, Tilly.
Dylan Ely, an eighth grader at Miami Trace Middle School, completed the program with his dog, Cooper, and his goat, Peanut.
Colton Osborne, a seventh grader at Washington Middle School, completed the program with his dog, Lola, and his cat, Zinnia.
Nevaeh Reed, a fifth grader at Belle-Aire Intermediate, completed the program with her chicken, Teacup.
After six months of training and preparation, the club was finally able to make their first visit with their pets to Carriage Court on Dec. 17, 2022. The PetPALS members and their adult partners, along with Tilly, Cooper, Lola and Teacup, were enthusiastically greeted by 10 residents of the facility. There was a lot of lively conversation between the students and the residents about former pets and love of animals. There were also many delightful interactions between the residents and the animals.
All of the students, their adult partners and the animals look forward to many more such visits in the future. The 4-H PetPALS would like to give a special thank you to Valerie Campbell, executive director, and Bridget Leisure, Viva Life Coordinator, from Carriage Court of Washington Court House, and also to Lydia Ulry, 4-H Youth Development Educator at the Fayette County OSU Extension Office, for all of their help, support and encouragement.