Get our newsletters

National Dog Show, Rowan hosts dog therapy symposium


r individuals, organizations and institutions involved in the certified therapy dog movement will be held Nov. 19 at Rowan University’s Wellness Center in Glassboro, N.J., in conjunction with the annual National Dog Show.

The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will be a forum for therapy dog practitioners, advocates and aspirants from the mid-Atlantic Region plus members of the veterinary community to share information and develop best practices.

The program, which will be held just after the annual Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s (KCP) National Dog Show Nov. 16 and 17 at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, Pa., is open to the public. The cost is $35 per person and registration is available at

Symposium organizers include David Frei, co-host of “The National Dog Show Presented by Purina,” Thanksgiving Day on NBC; Scott Woodside, Rowan’s director for Student Health Services; and Michele Pich, assistant director of The Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program at Rowan and an adjunct professor and research associate at the university.

The symposium will be held in tandem with the launch of The Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program, which was funded this year through a $3 million gift from Gerry Shreiber, president and CEO of J&J Snack Foods of Pennsauken, N.J.

Shreiber, who will address the symposium, previously funded pet therapy programs at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and at Virtua Hospital locations in New Jersey through his nonprofit, the Shreiber Animal Foundation Enterprise (SAFE).

Frei, an internationally known canine expert and a member of the Kennel Club of Philadelphia, is a longtime leader in the therapy dog movement. For 27 years, he was the face and voice of the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on USA Network and founded the therapy dog nonprofit Angel On A Leash.

He introduced therapy dog visitation to multiple major New York City health-care facilities, including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Pich, a member of the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team with her Staffordshire terrier mix, Vivian, since 2012, has long worked with the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, where she served as veterinary grief counselor and taught a course in the human-animal bond.

She is the former co-director of the VetPets Animal Assisted Activities at Penn Vet and held advisory roles with the therapy dog program at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and the Philadelphia animal-assisted prisoner re-entry nonprofit, New Leash on Life-USA.

Frei and Pich are certified presenters for Continuing Education credits. Veterinary industry employees can get Continuing Education credits for attending the symposium.

Sponsorships are available by contacting Steve Griffith of National Dog Show Charities at

Join our readers whose generous donations are making it possible for you to read our news coverage. Help keep local journalism alive and our community strong. Donate today.