When people first see Nutz,
the 90-pound, 5-year-old, mostly Staffordshire bull terrier, they’re usually a bit intimidated. That is, until he soon flops onto his back in a shameless plea for a belly rub.
“He’s probably the most social butterfly around,” said Karen, Nutz’s person and the one who signed the big teddy bear of a dog up for Anderson Humane’s Healing Paws pet therapy program. “He loves it. He knows when we’re going on one of our visits. He lights up and chases me out the door.”
Healing Paws pets visit hospitals, senior centers, and other places that need the comforting presence of animals. Nutz’ specialty is colleges, where he calms students during finals and gives kids who are away from home – and their own pets – a little dog love.
“Everyone is drawn to him,” Karen said, adding that for some reason boys especially like him. “Usually the Healing Paws dogs are fluffy.” Nutz is a stark contrast. He’s also trained to roll over and bow, rather impressive at his size.
Nutz isn’t Karen’s first Healing Paws pet. Her dog Ammo was one of the first animals certified in the program, and he was soon joined by her dog Donkey. Both now are mostly retired. Karen also has a hair salon where her big, chill dogs love to hang out and charm her customers.
“I always enjoy going too,” Karen said of her monthly Healing Paws visits with Nutz. She gets to see faces light up in rooms previously filled with anxiety or loneliness. “I always try to do one thing that’s not for me. Since I was little, I would try to give one thing away.” Now, with her big, sociable, Nutz-y dog, that thing is joy.
Think your pet could join Healing Paws? Interested in scheduling a Healing Paws visit? Learn more about Anderson Humane’s Healing Paws program.