Chapman's pet project

June 28, 1997


Staff Writer

Want to know more about Fuzzy Buddies? That's easy, get a copy of the Fuzzy Buddy Barker.

And if there is still more you want to know about this pet therapy program operating in Washington County nursing homes, there's always the new website it shares with the SPCA at

Begun last summer, Fuzzy Buddies is the brainchild of Mitzi Chapman who said her motivation is her love of animals and her desire to share that with others.

The newsletter, which first came off the presses in May, contains stories of the activities of the volunteers, tips from veterinarians, and even some features like a hidden word puzzle, a Fuzzy Buddy tip and the Fuzzy Buddy of the Month.


There is also a column called Bark At Us, where readers can say what they do and don't like about the newsletter.

Donations defray the cost of the newsletter and business people are invited to send in their business cards and a $25 donation to run as an advertisement per issue.

Fuzzy Buddies is always looking for new volunteers who have a pet that would be suitable for visiting nursing homes, Chapman said.

The rewards to the residents are many, Chapman said, from the calming effect of simply petting an animal on the head, to the feeling of remembering younger days with a beloved pet.

Studies show that other benefits such as lowered blood pressure and reduced stress can result from pet visits.

When Chapman was director of the Washington County SPCA, from 1979-1984, she had a similar program using shelter animals, taking them to nursing homes and schools.

Now that she has "retired,'' Chapman is working with the current SPCA staff to sponsor the Fuzzy Buddy program. She can devote as much time as necessary to the pet therapy program and she is hoping that more will join her.

Chapman and her Rottweiler, Nash (short for Nashville), are regular visitors and there is a growing list of others who take their pets to Homewood, Clearview and Coffman nursing homes on a regular basis.

Chapman said there are rules and regulations that must be followed, for safety sake of the pets and the people being visited.

All pets must be up on their immunizations, on a leash and under control at all times.

For more information on the newsletter or the program - either visiting or visitor - call Chapman at 1-301-842-2625.

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