In Loving Memory of Laura Ibsen
Laura Ibsen Pet Therapy Program
In February 2018, Laura Ibsen passed away due to complications from autoimmune diseases. Laura dedicated over ten years of her young life to Pet Therapy, starting in 2005 when she first visited Chandler Regional Hospital with her therapy dog, Patches. After that, she became an evaluator for Pet Partners, evaluating potential Pet Therapy teams in Arizona. She was also the Pet Therapy Team Lead at Mercy Gilbert Medical Center and volunteered at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Here, at Pawsitive Friendships, Laura, Patches and then Scooter, volunteered countless invaluable hours working one-on-one with various children on a weekly basis.
With degrees in Elementary Education and Special Education, she was ideal for us. She used every moment as a teaching moment for the benefit of the children and worked diligently and devotedly to ensure each child’s success. When one youngster was afraid of getting a haircut, Laura encouraged her to use a child’s scissors to “cut” Scooter’s hair during one of their occupational therapy sessions. Then, on her own time, she and Scooter accompanied the child’s family to the salon to help her have a haircut while she repeated that same exercise.
Laura’s compassion for and commitment to others was unparalleled, and this Pet Therapy Training Program is designed to honor her memory and her legacy. Its goal is to train and register new Pet Therapy teams whose human handlers have hearts as warm and loving as hers. Once registered, these teams will volunteer with Pawsitive Friendships for a two-year term.
Applications for the Laura Ibsen Pet Therapy Training program will be accepted on a per diem basis, and before applying, all interested candidates are urged to review the requirements listed below.