Dogs lend a helping paw

Joanne Turnbull receives Certificate of Appreciation from the Rotary Club.

Stephen Argentati

JoAnn Turnbull, the president and CEO of the local non-profit Handi-Dogs, Inc, recently spoke to the Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke about the variety of benefits derived from owning a dog and the differences between a service/assistance dog and a therapy dog.

JoAnn also explained that in addition to more well-known positive effects such as improved mood and increased well-being, pet ownership has tangible and measurable health benefits. Some of these include lowered blood pressure and cholesterol level, improved immunity and even reduced risk of heart attack and stroke. JoAnn went on to describe that service dogs are individually trained to assist a person with a disability. On the other hand, therapy dogs love to interact with people and are used for visiting animal programs in hospitals, nursing homes, schools and many other facilities.

Handi-Dogs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping older adults and people with disabilities gain independence and improve their quality of life through specialized training of dogs and to advocate about the important role of service dogs. More information can be found at their website:

Come learn with us!

The Rotary Club of SaddleBrooke, chartered in 1997, meets Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. in SaddleBrooke One. For information contact Wendy Guyton at 520-404-5712 or [email protected]. Visit our website at