Our Beginning Story
In 2005, a 16 year old girls' love of Australian Shepherds led her to work, save and buy her own dogs. Lyndi Hanna (our founder) began training her dogs, joined 4-H and participated in obedience, showmanship, conformation and agility. During this time she heard about animal assisted therapy, researched it and wanted to get involved. As the training of her dogs progressed, she realized they didn't have the right temperament for therapy work. She decided to wait and pursue animal therapy in the future when she had another animal that would enjoy its "work."
Lyndi also became involved with horses in 4-H, got her first horses as a young teenager and began training them herself. Continuing to pursue horses out of her love for them, she furthered her studies and received a degree at Weatherford College in Equine Management and Reproduction.
On April 28th, 2013 she lost her first beloved Aussie unexpectedly. Within the following few months, not looking to get another dog right away, a friend encouraged her to come look at this little pup which was the last of the litter and should definitely have been the first to go. The pup gravitated toward Lyndi right away and had so much of the same personality as the dog she just lost, but had that extra something special. Obviously, the rest is history and the timing of it all was definitely not coincidence! "Annie" was born on April 25, 2013 and on July 4th, 2013 Lyndi brought her home to Dublin, Texas.
While Lyndi began taking Annie out in public for obedience training, it became obvious that she would not only be perfect for animal therapy, but would enjoy the work as well. Lyndi began her required training as an animal therapy handler, started training Annie for therapy work and the test to become a registered dog therapy team.
Annie and Lyndi passed their test with the highest level you can receive, began their "official" work as a registered Pet Partners therapy team and started a Facebook page "Annie's Trails". They became the first pioneers as a registered animal therapy team to "knock on doors" of nursing homes, schools, libraries, first responder facilities, along with Texas Health Harris Stephenville Hospital, in Erath and surrounding counties. The two loved serving people, saw the joy it brought to others along with encouragement, comfort, and even the amount of progress it brought to the children they worked with at schools.
As they continued to expand and serve, making visits in new facilities and surrounding counties, Lyndi realized the great need for therapy animals in those areas. At this point, knowing all the places that therapy animals can be utilized, she realized she needed many more teams. Her vision is having teams involved in every facet of the community where therapy animals may be used, and provide the greatest of benefits. To be on call for comfort, encouragement and support to first responders, schools, hospitals, and communities in general and during times of crisis or personal loss.
In honor of "Annie" who started it all, in 2016 Lyndi formed a 501(c)(3) nonprofit volunteer organization called "Annie's Therapeutic Companions" consisting of Pet Partners registered animal therapy teams. Lyndi not only teaches and trains each member what it takes to be a registered handler, but also how to train their animal for therapy work, as well as get ready for the Pet Partners test. Once a handler and animal become an "official" Pet Partners team, she further mentors and trains them for crisis situations and in hospitals, schools, nursing homes and first responder facilities, so they can eventually serve alone with their animal companion. This helps create consistency with the teams within the organization for the facilities we serve. Supervisors at those facilities always know what to expect from ATC, which is very important to Lyndi.
"And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others." 2 Corinthians 9:8