Intermountain Therapy Animals, which was founded in Salt Lake City, Utah, launched its first Montana Chapter in 2001, when Nancy Rosen (a Salt Lake City ITA member since 1998) moved to Bozeman with Maggie and KC, both Bichons. Nancy was an ITA workshop instructor and evaluator, and she worked part-time in the Salt Lake City office. “I had lived in Bozeman prior to Salt Lake,” she says, “and I lobbied my husband to move back here.”
The first Bozeman ITA workshop was held in September, 2001, when Nancy was living between Salt Lake City and Bozeman. “We had 17 participants,” she says, “a few of whom are still with us, albeit on their second or third therapy animal. I moved permanently to Bozeman in February 2002, and from then on, we have had two workshops per year. Our number of volunteers fluctuates, but we always have around 60 teams.”
Today the Bozeman Chapter has mostly dogs, with two cats currently registered. The teams visit over 10 retirement homes, Bozeman Deaconess Hospital, and other therapy facilities. Their R.E.A.D. teams visit the Bozeman & Belgrade Public Library, five elementary schools, and two junior high schools.
“We conduct member meetings every other month,” says Nancy, “where we have various speakers. All our speakers are animal related — we have had pet communicators, veterinarians, educators on animal traps, trainers, and many more.”
In 2014, Nancy trained a group of pet/handler teams in Billings, and the Billings group – which is considered a subset of the Bozeman Chapter – is growing.
We in the Helena Chapter of Intermountain Therapy Animals are grateful to Bozeman Chapter evaluators Nancy Rosen and Nancy Dodd for helping run our Helena evaluations, which examine pet/handler teams for their skills and aptitude.
For information about ITA in Bozeman or Billings, contact:
Intermountain Therapy Animals
Bozeman, MT 59715
nrosen1107 (at) gmail.com