Canine Caregivers Therapy Dogs

 

 

   

Certified ...

        Insured ...

                Committed ...

In the Beginning

            Canine Caregivers was founded by Nina Dix and Cheryl Peevy.

            Nina is the administrator, evaluator and certified trainer for Canine Caregivers. She is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. After years of dog training / dog behavior experience and training her own dogs for pet therapy, Nina was certified with honors as an obedience trainer through Animal Behavior College. Nina has earned a certificate for Animal Assisted Activity Therapy from Wake Forest University School of Medicine Northwest AHEC in 2007 and has also earned a certificate from the American Red Cross in Pet First Aid in 2007. In 2013 Nina traveled to California to spend a week training with Cesar Millan at his Dog Physiology Center in Santa Clarita. During 2008, Nina started a very successful social dog boarding/training business in Salisbury called Doggie Holiday. She also specializes in teaching manners and dog behavior modification of all kinds through private lesson training. Nina works with several veterinarians in her area who seek help for their clients and staff who have dogs with behavior issues. Training, problem solving, rescuing, and therapy work continues to add to Nina's dog handling, dog behavior, and temperament assessment education.

           In December of 2011, Nina was solicited by the W.G.Bill Hefner VA Medical Center in Salisbury to select and train their first "resident therapy dog" for the new Hospice unit. Insisting that the dog be a rescue, Nina began her search for a dog for this noble position. After temperament testing numerous dogs in many counties, the search ended with a rescued stray female that Nina named Semper Fi (Latin for always faithful and the Marine motto). Nina will continue to provide ongoing support and training for "Fi" and training for the staff at the VA when needed. Nina has dedicated much of her work in pet therapy over the years to veterans.
           As the founder of a local dog rescue called One Dog At A Time located at her facility, Nina provides the training, fostering, and the  socializing to the rescues there. She is also often asked to assist other people in selecting a rescue dog that is the right fit for them. Nina also loves helping people and dogs find balance with dogs they have rescued.

           Nina and one of her dogs (Magnum) have years of experience educating children about therapy dogs and the role people play as care takers to animals in general .Through visits to schools, churches,  camps, etc., Magnum and Nina have spent many hours helping children to understand what a valuable service dogs provide to all of mankind. And the debt we owe them.

          Nina also volunteers as a mentor to high school students that choose therapy dogs or service dogs as their senior project subject. She enjoys her time with the students and loves helping young adults learn about the world of therapy dogs. Nina also enjoys volunteering with the high school as a judge for other students senior project presentations.

           Prior to starting Canine Caregivers, Nina was an associate member of Therapy Dogs International, Inc. for 4 years with her two registered therapy dogs, Magnum and Reload. Together they have hundreds of documented hours, and numerous undocumented hours bringing comfort, healing, and joy to patients and residents at W.G. Bill Hefner VA Medical Center and the Lutheran Home at Trinity Oaks. Over the years they have visited at various types of facilities and homes including Hospice and Palliative Care of Cabarrus County hospice house and home visitation, Camp Wings to Soar (previously Camp Pit Stop) Coltrane Life Center, and many other nursing homes, schools and events at a variety of facilities.

            For several years, Nina volunteered her time as a dog trainer to help many people and their dogs become ready to test, or retest, for whatever therapy dog group they chose. Working with H.P.C.C.C. Comforting Paws, Nina has helped prepare many dogs/handlers to test or re-test for Delta Society Pet Partners, Therapy Dogs International Inc., and Paws4People. Since therapy dogs/handlers "work for love", Nina feels that it is the least she can do to volunteer her training and experience so that more dogs can help fill the great need for therapy dogs. Nina realizes that all dogs are not suited for therapy work. But she has found sometimes all that is needed is some training and encouragement from an experienced trainer who has actual experience in therapy work.

            In 2009, Nina began to realize that many people, who train their dogs for pet therapy and then pass the test for a specific group, sometimes give up on pet therapy because of the lack of local support from their national group. This is when the idea of Canine Caregivers came to be. A truly local and nationally recognized group created for not only the great benefits that pet therapy can bring to people who need it, but also for the support and friendships that can be built among those who do pet therapy....through their dogs. After sharing the idea for a local therapy dog group with Cheryl, the two friends began the mission "of  bringing the comfort and healing of a well trained therapy dog to people in need" in the Salisbury-Rowan , NC area.

             

         Dr. Cheryl Peevy (a.k.a. Reba’s Mama) is a full time professor of Modern Foreign Languages at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.  Cheryl has been on the faculty at Catawba for 28 years and teaches  a variety of courses ranging from Intermediate Spanish to Advanced Literature courses and  Advanced Composition.  As an academic advisor to a number of Spanish Majors and Minors, she helps students plan their course schedules and supervises her senior students’ Internships in the Latino community. At Catawba, Cheryl has served as Chair of the Department of Modern Foreign Languages, the Faculty Senate, the Curriculum Committee, the SACS Self Study (Educational Program). She has also served as a member of numerous other committees. Cheryl is currently serving her third term as an elected member of the Faculty Tenure and Promotion Committee.  Her 15 year tenure on this prestigious committee is a testament to the respect and confidence her colleagues have in her as a senior member of the faculty.  Cheryl is also a member of the Chiefs’ Club Board of Directors and was recently appointed by the President as the new Faculty Athletic Representative for all Division II sports at the College.  She will represent the College in the South Atlantic Conference as well as on the national level of NCAA Division II.  In the academic year 1995-1996, Cheryl was voted by her peers as the recipient of the Swink Prize for Outstanding Classroom Teaching.

          One of Cheryl’s personal goals in her therapy dog work has been to incorporate her dedication to the mission of Canine Caregivers with her passion for the Spanish language and culture. In the summer of 2013, Cheryl and her dog Reba started to visit the Good Shepherd Clinic, where Cheryl regularly volunteers as an interpreter for the Latino patients. She uses her Spanish language skills together with Reba’s talents as a therapy dog to communicate with and provide comfort for the patients.

           To further promote the mission of Canine Caregivers, Cheryl and Reba have been invited to several classes at Catawba to educate the students about the purpose and positive effects of a therapy dog’s visit. The team also visits the campus at various times throughout the academic year to provide comfort, support and stress relief to the students, faculty and staff. Cheryl is very proud that Reba has been informally named by the students as “The Official Therapy Dog of Catawba College.”

           In her other service to the cause of animal welfare, Cheryl volunteers for the Humane Society of Davie County. Her duties  include working with dogs to prepare them for adoption and participating in the Adoption Fairs for the HSDC at Pet Smart and Wal-Mart to introduce the public to dogs who are ready f or adoption.

           Cheryl’s interest in therapy dog volunteerism began long before she adopted her dog, Reba. Years ago, Cheryl’s mother spent some time in a nursing care facility in the Washington, D.C.  area. During one particular visit, Cheryl’s mother told her that she would have to leave the room because “Calvin” was coming.  She repeated several times that her friend “Calvin,”with dark red hair was coming and that Cheryl, her only daughter who had traveled 400 miles to visit, would just have to leave.  Feeling a bit unwanted, Cheryl left the room thinking that “Calvin” was a physical therapist or nurse. But, down the hall, there came a beautiful Irish Setter therapy dog. Cheryl realized just who “Calvin” was and told his handler that her mother was expecting her new found friend.

           A few years later, Cheryl adopted Reba from a local rescue group, Cedar Farm, and began the search for a dog trainer.  She met Nina Dix, who trained Cheryl to train Reba in basic obedience. Over the course of a couple of years, the two became good friends and formed a local therapy dog group.  After rigorous training, Cheryl and Reba are now a certified therapy dog team with Canine Caregivers.  They regularly visit the Brian Center, Salisbury Gardens,The Laurels and the Good Shepherd Clinic. At each facility, they have made many friends among the residents and the staff. Cheryl has dedicated her therapy dog work with Reba to her now deceased mother.  She remembers the joy and anticipation her mother felt as she looked forward to visits with “Calvin,” the therapy dog. Cheryl sees that same joy on the faces of everyone they visit and she is herself greatly enriched by her experiences with Reba.