2009 Freedom Award

SHS Animal Assisted Programs has been nominated several times for the 2009 Freedom Award given out by the Kearney Hub. The nominiations were for the visits to the Kearney Public Library and nursing homes in the area. Visit the recent Kearney Hub article highlighting Paws to Read.

We would like to express our deep gratitude for Alaina and Amy for getting the program connected with the Library. Additionally for all the volunteers that make and keep connections with our nursing homes. This program would not be what it is without the dedication, initiative and drive of the volunteer workforce and special thanks and congratulations to those directly involved in the conception and ongoing work with these programs!


Welcome to the AAP Online website

Kearney Area Animal Assisted ProgramsWe are glad you stopped by to visit.  The Kearney Area AAPOnline.org website is currently undergoing a much needed “technology enhancement.”  Please feel free to browse around and see what is going on with the program.

This program is a group of volunteers from the Kearney, Nebraska area with dogs, cats and other animals registered with Therapy Dogs, Inc. Inc. and also Pet Partners. Our programs and visits include places for youth such as the public library and numerous daycare providers and schools. We also visit local hospitals, nursing homes, and other places where we are invited. Kearney Area Animal Assisted Programs also participates in local activities such as parades, camps and other community events. 

Animals in Action

Animal Assisted Therapy Program

Chunk - GirlsMedical professionals are becoming increasingly aware of the therapeutic and soothing effects animals have on patients. A growing number of clinical studies are proving that animals contribute to physical health by lowering blood pressure, reducing anxiety levels and increasing survival rates for people with heart disease.

Good Samaritan Hospital (GSH) of Kearney, Nebraska has transformed healthcare delivery and positively affected family members, staff and the community through a program that complements traditional models. While other animal assisted therapy programs (AAP) have long been admired for the impact they have in the health care setting, what sets GSH AAP apart from others is the hospital’s commitment to support the program to provide services not only to the hospital but also to the our entire community.

Notes of Appreciation

Jude and therapy dog Schotzy

Jude and therapy dog Schotzy

Jude and Schatzi were recognized for their work at the Volunteer Recognition Luncheon by this note of appreciation received from a family member of a patient at Good Samaritan Hospital:

Animal Assisted Therapy – Jude and therapy dog Schotzy made a world of difference to my 3-year old son receiving chemotherapy for Leukemia. They often met us at the door and walked him to his room at the Cancer Center. He came to look forward to his visits here and seeing Schotzy. Schotzy really helped bring comfort and solitude to my son and brought a smile to his face. Thank you, thank you!

Neco & Brighton

Neco & Brighton

Neco & Brighton

In the fall of 2001 Larry, our then puppy Neco and I attended the Samoyed Nationals in Denver. That was when we first heard about pet therapy. We were so captivated by the numerous stories and upon returning to Kearney immediately started training to become certified. We have been involved in the pet therapy program for 10 years with Neco.

In the fall of 2002 Brighton joined our family. He and Neco have the same mother. Brighton started pet therapy at a very young age. We were going many places that wanted the little puppy to join us. As soon as possible Brighton was fully certified. Brighton has been in the program for 9 years.

In 2009 the four of us were selected to receive The Spirit of Planetree Therapy Animal Award. This is a nationwide organization that is participated in by Good Samaritan Hospital.

We have made visits to Bryant School, Meadowlark School, Northeast School, Zion School, Sunrise Middle School, Kearney Senior High School, YMCA preschool, private school in Lincoln, PEO organization, Relay for Life, various Senior Citizens Housing, Omaha Care Center, Public Library reading program for children, Camp Bear, Richard Young Hospital and Good Samaritan Hospital.

~ Larry and Helen Miller