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Sense Of Community

Pet Therapy of the Ozarks PAL program


[sounds of Buddy]

I’m greeted by Buddy, a large Golden Retriever who seems to smile from ear to ear.  His plush tail wags, and he is sporting a red bandana around his neck. The way he lights up a room is the reason for his visits to multiple hospitals, schools, and non-profits throughout the region. Since 2009, he’s offered needed relief to others through Pet Therapy of the Ozarks. 

Equi-Librium Therapy Center

Therapeutic horseback riding offers numerous benefits for a wide variety of physical and emotional issues.  Randy Stewart takes us to the Springfield area's only accredited therapeutic equine center for the "Sense of Community" series.

Niles the Service Dog

Trained therapy dogs help disabled persons strengthen their bodies and improve their quality of life. Randy Stewart introduces us to Niles the black Lab in this installment of the "Sense of Community" series.

Jason Harmon and George

While at home, Jason Harmon's yellow Lab George plays the role of pet for him, his wife and two young sons. But on the MSU campus, donning what Harmon calls George’s work jacket that reads “working dog, do not pet,” this service dog is ready and willing to protect, guide and inspire Harmon while in the classroom and amongst society. KSMU's Scott Harvey has their story.

Spence and Aries

Under normal circumstances, this four year-old Belgian Malinois is like your typical dog; friendly and full of energy. But in the midst of danger, he’s trained to identify and pursue people and things that pose harm to others.

Aries is one of six dogs within the Springfield Police Department K-9 Unit. His trainer, otherwise known as a handler, is Officer Tom Spence, a nine-year veteran with the department, who has been with the K-9 division for the last couple of years.


In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community Series focusing on Animals that Help, Michele Skalicky tells us how dogs are used in the classroom to benefit students and teachers.

Professor Elliott

In this segment of KSMU's Sense of Community series, Michele Skalicky explores how animals at Dickerson Park Zoo serve as ambassadors for their species.

Nona Roggensees

In this Sense of Community segment on "Animals That Help," KSMU's Jennifer Davidson visits two Ozarks nursing homes to find how animals are helping residents maintain a sense of purpose and companionship. 

Border Collie

In this Sense of Community report, KSMU's Jennifer Davidson looks at how valuable a well-trained Border Collie can be for Ozarks livestock farmers.