About Us

Our Mission and Philosophy


We promote and provide the therapeutic effects of the human-animal bond by placing qualified therapy dog teams, certified with Alliance of Therapy Dogs, at:

  • Hospitals
  • Other health-care facilities
  • Schools
  • Libraries
  • Special events

Our teams participate in regular placements and planned events to bring joy to all.

It’s a Fact…Pets Help People Feel Better!

Therapaws Video

“Humans interacting with animals have found that petting the animal promoted the release of serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin- all hormones that can play a part in elevating moods.”

UCLA Health

Therapy Dog VisitsTherapaws to READ

Our History

Our roots date back to 1988 when Sue Fischer, our visionary founder, was approved to make patient visits as a volunteer at University of Michigan Hospitals (Michigan Medicine) with her Golden Retriever Willie.

More teams participated in the program, which had been known as Therapets. In 2001, the organization officially became Therapaws of Michigan, Inc., a 501c3 nonprofit corporation.

Therapaws Today

Today, we have more than 90 active teams that visit 25+ locations in Washtenaw County and surrounding communities.

The organization’s board members include Bobbi O’Hara, president; Brinda Ganesan, vice president; Lana Berry, treasurer; and Sue Zieske, secretary. The directors are Katy Davis, John Palladino Cathy Paolini, and Jared Wadley.

Being a Therapaws team is a rewarding and inspiring experience. Our volunteer members participate in the following activities:

Perform regular pet therapy visits

Attend enrichment workshops

Socialize at the annual picnic and holiday party

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Become a Volunteer