As just about every citizen of Guilford County is aware, Board of Commissioners meetings can sometimes get heated. 

That, however, didn’t happen at the board’s Thursday, April 15 meeting – perhaps because there were several therapy dogs in attendance to calm everyone down and make everyone feel good that night.

Here’s the reason man’s best friends were in attendance for the first time in years and years. Commissioner Justin Conrad read a resolution and proclaimed Friday, April 30, 2021, as “National Therapy Animal Day in Guilford County.” 

Conrad and the other commissioners then took some time to pay homage to the good work these dogs do.  The commissioners even interrupted the meeting to pose for photographs with the animals.

Representatives of North Carolina Pet Partners brought their therapy animals to the meeting on the second floor of the Old Guilford County Court House in downtown Greensboro.  Pet Partners is an organization with the goal of “demonstrating and promoting positive human-animal interaction to improve the physical, emotional, and psychological lives of those we serve.”

The group – which uses many types of animals as therapy animals, not just dogs – visits hospitals and retirement homes, and anywhere else people might appreciate the peaceful and restorative influence of the dogs.  Indeed, they did remain very calm at the meeting despite the bright lights and commotion.   

Pet Partners also visits schools to educate students about the group’s work. Representatives show up with their animals at everything from kindergarten classes to college classes.

Pet Partners also has teams of members trained and certified as “Animal Assisted Crisis Response Teams,” which visit areas in a time of crisis to help with the recovery and healing.

 Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the group met every other month at Wesley Long Hospital in Greensboro.  The group invited the commissioners to attend a meeting once those meetings resume.

The therapy animals weren’t the only four-legged beings in the audience on April 15.  After the resolution honoring the animals, Gage, a Belgium-born police dog who worked for the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, was honored for seven years of brave service to the department.

As smoothly as the meeting went on Thursday night, the commissioners might want to consider having therapy animals at every meeting.