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National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium hosted by Rowan University

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After the inaugural National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium at Rowan University in November 2019, we decided to do it again. This year, with the pandemic precautions, we will be holding our event virtually. Bookmark this page for more information coming soon!

ONLINE - Tuesday, NOVEMBER 17th 2020 11am-3:30pm EST
Rowan University -  201 Mullica Hill Road,  Glassboro, NJ 08028-1701
Giving paws for healing hearts
Tickets for this year’s conference are $20 .


***Note: if you are a student and would like to be considered for one of our limited number of student scholarships to this event, do not register yet on the link above, instead, please fill-out the scholarship application HERE or email: for application requirements & you will use a coupon code in the registration once approved. This cannot be done after paid registration.

The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium at Rowan University is one of America’s most important gatherings devoted to therapy dogs. The day-long conference brings together therapy dog handlers, health care experts,
academics, those who want to get involved and people who simply love dogs, to share information, cutting edge research, insights from practical applications and best practices.

The conference is hosted by Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ, just 30 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. The school is home to the ground-breaking Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program where students have access to therapy dogs.

The 2020 conference is on Tuesday November 17 from 11 a.m. to 3:30p.m. (EST) and because it is being held virtually will be open to people from across the United States.

The conference is chaired by David Frei and Michele Pich, and organized by the planning committee. David is the expert analyst on NBC’s National Dog Show, broadcast every year on Thanksgiving, and one of the best known names in the canine world. He is also a prolific writer and founder of Angel on a Leash. Michele Pich is the Assistant Director of Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program and Adjunct Professor of Law and Justice Studies at Rowan. Michele has worked in animal-assisted therapy (and other animal-assisted activities and interactions) for many years, including with her own certified therapy dog, Vivian Peyton, who is a therapy dog ambassador for the National Dog Show and part of Rowan's program.

The conference was launched last year with almost 150 attendees from nine states representing 18 different therapy animal groups. The conference covered therapy dog work with hospitals, prisoners, the elderly, in disaster relief, with the terminally ill, veterans’ groups and stressed students.

As a part of the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Continuing Education Services, the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium will include lectures on therapy dog best practices and pursuing providing continuing education credits to attendees by the Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE).

This Year's Speakers include: 

-Dr. Marty Becker, DVM - author of "Fear Free" & "Chicken Soup for the Dog Lover's Soul"

       Topic: "Fear Free & Therapy Animals"

-Dr. Cynthia Otto, VMD, PhD - Executive Director and Founder, Penn Vet Working Dog Center & Professor of Working Dog Science

        Topic: "Dogs and our health in the age of COVID19"

-Becky Langer, Volunteer network liaison ,Crisis Response Canines; Tester/Observer, Alliance of Therapy Dogs,  & Dog Handler, Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program

         Topic: "Animal Welfare in Crisis Response Therapy Dog Work"

-Kelly Rounds & Debbie Snyder- Co-founders,  Heel2Heal Therapy Dogs

         Topic: "Becoming VIP - Reinventing Therapy Dog Volunteering During the Covid Crisis"

-Debra Hamilton, JD - Mediator and AVMA Wellbeing Certified, Hamilton Law & Mediation

         Topic: "Navigating the journey your pet takes...when you can't care for them.

-CheriLynn Frei, MA-  Chief Mission Officer, Providence Health and Services

         Topic: "Self-Care for the Therapy Dog Handlers & Practitioners"

-Amy Johnson, Mat, MA, LPC, CPDT-KA & Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA, CPDT-KA  - Oakland University, Animal Assisted Intervention International (AAI) & Dogwood Therapy Services Inc, & Dogwood Therapy Services Inc.

         Topic: "Standards, Competencies & Accreditation: The Animal Assisted Intervention International Model"

-Phoebe Yam, OTR/L & Macy Porter, MOTR/L -  Animal Assisted Intervention International & Dogwood Therapy Services Inc & Dogwood Therapy Services Inc.

         Topic: "COVID-19 Pandemic Therapy Animal Alternatives E-Book Collaboration"

-Christi Dudzik LMHC, MC, CPP-AAPT - Healing Paws, Inc.

         Topic: "Focus on the Therapy Animal's Welfare When Visiting"

-Rhesa Houston, DVM & Kandace Jordan, DVM - Assistance Animals Consulting

         Topic: "Veterinary Partnership with Human-Animal Interactions or The Veterinarian's Role in Animal-Assisted Interactions"