Paul M. Howey and his wife Trish have been involved in pet therapy for the past 15 years—the first two years in Phoenix, Arizona, and the past 13 years in Asheville, North Carolina. Over that period of time, they have had three pet therapy dogs: Freckles, Leegle Beagle, and now Jelly. Together with these canine companions, they have volunteered in hospitals, schools, prisons, care facilities, domestic abuse shelters, and elsewhere.
In late 2016, after completing a ten-year stint as editor-in-chief of The Laurel of Asheville magazine, Paul turned his attention to creating Fur Kidz Sake, a local not-for-profit coalition of pet therapy volunteer teams poised to serve those in need.
All Fur Kidz Sake teams are nationally tested and registered, either by Pet Partners or by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. To earn and maintain this level of certification, the dogs, along with their human handlers, must pass regular exams. When these requirements are met, each team is covered while on assignment by a multi-million dollar liability insurance policy. They are then matched to community needs based on experience, interests, and availability.