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Featured Team
A Kiss Changes Everything
Chris and Diamond
Suzie Cordes, Cody and Tucker
Daleen Comer, Bonnie and Cloud
Kim Kane and Muffy
Sandy Chang, Roxey and Paige
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Featured Team

Daleen Comer, Bonnie and Cloud

Daleen Comer, Bonnie and Cloud

Daleen has been a Pet Partner since April, 2005, with her Sheltie Duffy, who went over the Rainbow Bridge in Spring, 2010.  He was a lovely dog. Her second Sheltie, Bonnie became a Pet Partner in September of 2006, and her Dove, Cloud, in October 2010. In addition to her visiting hospitals, Senior living facilities, school children in a reading program and a teen shelter, she helps at evaluations, attends special events, mentors new teams and coordinates visits at a couple of the facilities. 

Here's what Daleen has to say about her very busy Pet Therapy schedule:

Bonnie is a very active Sheltie, except when she’s working, and then she is very calm and focused.  She is almost 6 years old, and has been working with Delta since she was 18 months old. We got her from the same breeder that Sandy’s Roxie came from, and in fact, Bonnie is Roxie’s niece.

We do a weekly reading program with children in school, and one of her favorite tricks is guessing which hand the child has hidden the treat in. She bumps the hand with her nose, and waits for the student to open his/her hand and offer the treat. There are always lots of giggles from the kids, especially when she occasionally guesses wrong. She will also offer her left foot or right foot on command, bow, and roll over vigorously.

Cloud is a 2-year-old male Ringneck Dove. He was hatched in my home, as we own his parents, so he has been handled literally since birth. Cloud has always been very friendly, outgoing, and interested in everything going on around him.  I always had the idea that he would be a great therapy animal, but equipment was a problem.  Doves are fairly rare as pets, so there is not a lot of equipment available. I was able to find a combination diaper/harness online, but I had to design and make a carrying bag for him, as well as a basket for visits. The seniors or kids reach into the basket to pet him, and the sides are high enough that he feels secure.  He frequently coos while visiting, which everyone enjoys hearing.

Bonnie and I visit Mission Hospital monthly with my daughter Geneva. Bonnie and Cloud take turns attending a weekly classroom reading program at John Adams Elementary School in Santa Ana. We also participate in the monthly Saturday reading program at the same school, in the library. Cloud visits two senior day cares and one assisted living facility monthly, in addition to his reading visits. Bonnie has just started visiting a teen shelter every other week as well. We also participate in community events, such as pet fairs. Last spring, we helped staff a petting booth for nursing students at Cal State Fullerton during finals week.

 I coordinate the two reading programs at Adams Elementary as well as three senior facilities in south Orange County.

I love to see the excitement on the children’s faces when we enter the classroom.  Many of the students don’t have pets, so they don’t have the opportunity to interact with a gentle pet, and they look forward to the reading days.  The teachers tell us that the students have more confidence in their reading and are more willing to read aloud.

 It is quite rewarding to visit with the seniors and see the joy on their faces when they realize that I’m offering them a live bird to pet.  They ask a lot of questions about him and just laugh at his antics. I had been taking Bonnie to a senior day care for a couple of years, seeing the same lady every time. She would pet her and speak to her in French, telling her she was pretty, over and over, for several minutes.  One time after this, we moved on to the gentleman seated next to her, and he told me that the French lady never spoke until the dogs came.  She sat silently, day after day, until she saw the dogs, and had a reason to speak.

The hospital visits are very peaceful. We set Bonnie on the bed and she snuggles with the patient.  The nurses enjoy getting their cuddles, too.

I am fortunate that I have a job (piano teacher, in my home) that allows me to volunteer at schools and senior facilities during the mornings, and I can be around my animals all day. We have quite a lot of pets: 2 Shelties (Bonnie and her cousin Belle); 3 cats, including a retired therapy kitty; Cloud, his parents and new little sister; and a desert tortoise.  In addition to music, my hobbies include sewing and knitting. My two daughters, Geneva, in college and Acacia, in high school, have been Pet Partners as well. Geneva is still in AHF, as a Mission Hospital volunteer. My husband Keith is a marketing manager in a high-tech company, and is a guitarist and vocalist at various public venues in south Orange County on weekends.  We have lived in Mission Viejo for over 20 years.

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