WILMINGTON — Susan Ertel and her dog Rosebud educated the Wilmington Lions Club about pet therapy at the Nov. 21 regular meeting.
Pet therapy teams have a desire to help those in need, and it’s Rosebud’s basset magic that leads their team. Susan and Rosebud have been a therapy team for three years. They are certified through Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati, a local affiliate of the international Pet Partners organization. They volunteer weekly at Holmes Elementary School and are a counseling therapy team.
Susan and her first therapy basset hound named Belle were a reading team for eight years and volunteered at Holmes. They also visited the Foster J. Boyd, MD Regional Cancer Center where patients would schedule their infusion dates around Belle’s visits.
Susan and Belle were honored for their work in the community and received the 2011 American Red Cross Heroes “Pets as Heroes” award for their therapy work. Ertel was also selected for the 2013 class of Outstanding Women of Clinton County, an achievement Susan attributes to Belle.
Susan and both of her therapy dogs have done extensive training, qualifying each of them for the highest visit status of pet therapy. Together they have presented numerous educational programs on pet therapy and also have mentored other teams.
Susan has been published and featured for her therapy work in the Pet Partners magazine. It’s that nonjudgmental, unconditional love with the therapy dogs that makes the magic — they don’t see people for how they dress or talk or whether they can read or write, or if they are in a hospital room with tubes sticking out. The therapy dogs don’t care about any of that — they don’t worry about tomorrow, they just live in the moment. That’s a lesson we all can learn.
Susan Ertel’s art background has led her to author and illustrate the children’s book about Belle’s inspirational story called “Belle The Hound That Was Found.” Susan is also the illustrator of children’s books “The Forgotten Pumpkin” and her newly published book “A Day in DC with the Forest Friends.”
The DC book is the second of author Hugh Earnhart’s Forest Friends series. She is currently illustrating “Claire and the Magic Shell.” Susan’s whimsical artwork reflects her love of art and animals.