Pet Pledge Day Raises Funds for Animal-Assisted Therapy

A community partnership helped raise $1,000 for Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee, an outreach program at the University of Tennessee.

Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee (HABIT), an outreach program at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, recently received $1,000 from a community partnership between WUOT Public Radio and Dream Katcher Lodge in Farragut, Tenn.

As a way to promote HABIT, the radio station and lodge decided to hold a Community Partnership Day. If WUOT received 350 pledges by phone, online or in person on the station’s Pet Pledge Day during its fall 2014 fund drive, Dream Katcher Lodge would donate $1,000 to HABIT. The station surpassed its goal, receiving more than 475 pledges from listeners in support of the partnership.

Mili Bass, DVM, owner of Dream Katcher Lodge, is an alumna of the UT college of Veterinary Medicine. She has supported HABIT since it began in 1986.

“Besides HABIT, WUOT is my other passion,” Dr. Bass said. “These are two organizations I feel strongly about that need community support.”

The fund drive’s Community Partnership Day on Pet Pledge Day was opportunity for listeners to make it a HABIT to donate to WUOT and help support another worthy nonprofit at the same time, according to Cindy Hassil, WUOT corporate and community relations director.

“We want to give back to the community that has helped keep us on the air for the past 65 years,” Hassil said. “Partnerships like this benefit everyone. Our generous listeners love WUOT, they love their pets and they believe in supporting causes they care about. All of their donations that day will stay with WUOT, but their pledges also benefited HABIT thanks to the generosity of Mili and Dream Katcher Lodge.”

HABIT will use the donation money to purchase tablets that will enable the program’s informational meetings to be more mobile, and evaluators will be able to use the tablets during their evaluations of potential animal volunteers, said Karen Armsey, HABIT program director.

HABIT is comprised of representatives from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, volunteers from the community and private veterinary practitioners. The group works together to explore the circumstances and consequences of the human-animal bond and to promote this bond between people and animals.

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