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Everyone believes their pet is the best, and while personal bias is strong, contests like Pet Partner’s Pet of the Year offer a platform to officially crown one. Among the heartwarming stories of companionship and service, Forest, a Great Dane from Maine, stands out as a finalist in this prestigious competition. Owned by Sarah and Tina Buckley, Forest isn’t just a pet; he’s a therapy dog with over 300 visits under his belt, bringing comfort and joy to cancer patients, military members, schoolchildren, and hospital staff and patients alike.

Forest’s Journey to Becoming a Therapy Dog

Forest’s story is one of dedication and love. His owners highlight his innate ability to sense when someone needs extra attention, a trait that makes him an exceptional therapy dog. Through Pet Therapy visits, Forest has not only brought joy to many lives but has also underscored the importance of the human-animal bond. Pet Partners, the organization behind the contest, aims to improve human health and well-being through this bond, offering innovative programs and educational opportunities centered around it.

The Impact of Therapy Dogs in Communities

Therapy dogs like Forest play a crucial role in enhancing the well-being of individuals across various settings. From reducing stress and improving mood to minimizing social anxiety, the presence of these compassionate animals has a profound impact. This is reflected in the increasing introduction of therapy dogs into educational settings, such as North Kent College’s initiative with Darwyn, a German Shepherd therapy dog. The success stories of therapy dogs in these environments inspire more institutions to consider incorporating them into their well-being support services.

Supporting Forest and the Mission of Pet Partners

Forest’s participation in the Pet of the Year contest not only shines a spotlight on his and his owners’ dedication but also on the broader mission of Pet Partners. By voting for Forest, the public can support this mission and help highlight the critical role therapy dogs play in society. Those interested in supporting Forest can vote and donate here, contributing to the continued success of therapy dog initiatives and the human-animal bond.

As the contest unfolds, the story of Forest and other remarkable pets underscores the transformative power of the human-animal bond. Whether or not Forest wins the title, his story is a testament to the love, comfort, and healing therapy dogs bring to communities, inspiring a deeper appreciation for these extraordinary animals.

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