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Windwalker Humane Coalition honors animal advocates

The late Alice Freeman, known best by her friends and colleagues in Warwick schools as “Miss Alice,” was remembered by the Windwalker Humane Coalition (WHC) Jan. 19 at their ninth annual meeting at the Scottish Rite in Cranston.

Coalition members spoke about the role “Miss Alice” played in their Pet Assisted Therapy programs and how much her mentorship and friendship meant to them.

Freeman’s sister, former Rhode Island Attorney General Arlene Violet, also spoke at the meeting about her sister and what the association with Windwalker meant to Miss Alice, who was a teacher and psychologist in the Warwick school system that advocated to ensure children with special needs received the support they needed to get the best education possible.

The theme of this year’s meeting was “Advocates In and Out of the Courts” celebrating the work WHC has done advocating for abused animals by speaking to prosecutors, attending court sessions in abuse cases and working with legislators on the Animal Advocate legislation that was passed in 2012.

The keynote address was given by Dr. David Dosa, the author of the New York Times best selling book, “Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat.” A practicing geriatrician and health services researcher at Brown University, Dosa spoke about his experiences working with patients near the end of their lives.

“Patients have a better quality of life if the nursing home environment feels more like home and having pets in the nursing home is an important part of creating that environment,” he said.

Jacqie Lyman shared her story of saving and caring for a family of feral cats chronicled in a photo essay and told of her rescue of two other young kittens found abandoned on the Toll Gate campus in Warwick. Lyman is typical of the WHC belief that all pets deserve loving homes and people are their guardians.

The PR Award was given to John Howell of the Warwick Beacon for coverage of Windwalker events for more than 10 years. The Governmental Award was given to Michaela Driscoll of the Attorney General’s office for her help in animal abuse cases. The DJ, Maj-en and Panda Girl Love Reflecting Art Award was given to Terri Kau. The Rhode Island Health Department was honored for their relationship with the organization for over 20 years. Cynthia Vanaudenhove was honored for her time as president of Windwalker. Lynne Messina and Karen Lewis were honored as recipients of the Windwalker Award for their tireless efforts on behalf of the organization. Jo-Ann Sutcliffe and Linda Norman-Lyman were formally introduced into their new roles as president and vice president.

For more information about the Windwalker Humane Coalition and the DJ Pet Assisted Therapy Certificate Program at CCRI, 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 12 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the Providence Campus.


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