Making the world a better place for people and animals through DJ Professional Pet Assisted Therapy was celebrated at the 10th annual Windwalker Humane Coalition event Dec. 7 at the Warwick Police community room. The theme of this year’s event was “Looking Forward.”
Members were greeted by Hunter, a yellow Labrador retriever, Hunter’s guardian, Carol Khalsa, and assistant, Taylor Heywood. Cellists from the North Kingstown Community Orchestra under the direction of Rozanne Fuller performed during the event. Master of Ceremonies was Heather Siravo.
The keynote address was given by radio personality and former Mayor of Providence Buddy Cianci. Cianci related the first time he met Windwalker’s founder, Pearl Salotto, and DJ (Dog of Joy) in 1997 when speaking to a group of pet assisted therapy facilitators at Feinstein High School in Providence. He said that he noticed DJ laying calmly, listening attentively during his speech and remarked that this was the DJ Movement. Buddy said that he was honored that the phrase caught on and is still used today. He also told of his first day in office when he was greeted by animal control officers asking him what he wanted to do about the monkeys that escaped from the zoo. As Mayor, he worked to improve the zoo, the animal shelter, and brought back the mounted police division. He said that he has a great love of animals.
Cynthia Vanaudenhove and Michelle Losardo produced a video presentation that honored longtime Advisory Board Member Alice Freeman, who passed away in 2012, and Windwalker Therapy pets that had passed. The video was produced “In memory of those who made our lives rich and who continue with us by their guiding spirit.”
The Windwalker Award was presented to Phyllis Kaczynski for her tireless efforts to help abused animals. Past Windwalker president, Cynthia Vanaudenhove, and advisory board member and past president Linda Jones also received the award for their longtime service to Windwalker.
Natalia Mieczynski, Robin Tanguay, Carol Khalsa, and Judy Carlson received certificates of completion for the DJ Program Certificate Program at CCRI.
For more information about the Windwalker Humane Coalition and the DJ Pet Assisted Therapy Certificate Program at CCRI please visit www.windwalkercoalition.org, www.djppat.com, www.ccri.edu/cwce or call Pearl Salotto at 734-1888. Registration
is now going on for the spring DJ PAT Class, which starts Tuesday, March 11 from 3-5 p.m. at the CCRI Providence Campus.