Bringing therapeutic animals to those in need is the goal of Annie’s Therapeutic Companions. The challenge comes in doing that in rural Texas. But as Founder and President, Lyndi Hanna explains, it’s all worth it to provide a service that is often exclusive to larger and more urban demographics.
Annie’s Therapeutic Companions was created and founded based on their namesake, Annie the Australian Shepherd. Lyndi’s passion for training dogs was the root of the concept, but she knew it would take the right dog to make it work. When Lyndi came across Annie, she knew she could finally make this dream a reality. Annie was trained and became certified as a registered Pet Partners therapy animal. Lyndi and Annie began visits to many hospitals, schools, and other care facilities.
As the need for more animal-assisted therapy grew in their rural Texas community, Lyndi decided to form a team of other registered therapy animals. Currently, Annie’s provides services that include therapy dogs and miniature horses, with hopes of expanding their therapy species-base even further.
Lyndi’s passion for her work is far and wide, and with certainty she says it is her ‘calling’. She and Annie have served as spiritual mentors for those in the hospital, companions to doctors who have experienced difficult patient situations, and provided encouraging distraction to children in the ER. They’ve also been an outlet for a special needs child in a school, and often are simply a kind presence to family members during trying times. As Lyndi stated, “It’s been really neat to see how such a simple thing has helped so many people.”
Continued reach is the goal of Annie’s Therapeutic Companions. Currently, the organization sees an average of 2,500 people per month with hopes of expanding their network. A continual balance of donations, fundraising, and grants like Feed It Forward are needed to keep this service flourishing. “I always get something new out of it,” Lyndi says, “We’re always learning something new and seeing what we can do for others, so it’s a big impact.”