Mark your calendar

A local organization want to get your pet involved in the community, and in return they’ll get a lot of ear scratches and belly rubs.

Compassionate Paws is holding an upcoming Meet and Greet in Cedartown on June 2 starting at 10 a.m. at the Women’s Building, 415 Wissahickon Ave.

Unfortunately pets aren’t invited to this event, but they will be welcome to participate after some training in other Compassionate Paws events.

The organization is seeking people who have dogs or cats to take part in their organization by becoming a Pet Partner.

Essentially, they are volunteers who come out with their pets to Compassionate Paws-organized stops, such as local nursing homes, Polk Medical Center, and schools to provide those who don’t usually get a chance to interact with furry friends a chance to love on and enjoy time with dogs and cats.

Compassionate Paws President D’Ann Downey said the demand for Pet Partners to come out to the local area far exceeds the number of participants they have in their organization.

“We need a whole lot more pet partners in order to reach the number of people who are requesting us in the community,” she said.

She’s hoping Polk County residents will step up with their dogs and cats and provide that love others want to give, but usually don’t get to since they live in long term care facilities, or find themselves hospitalized. Visits to places like Cedar Hill Senior Living Center or Polk Medical Center can make all the difference in the world, Downey said.

“We’ve had a couple of instances where people who have been in nursing homes who haven’t spoken in years will finally speak to a dog,” Downey said. “We’ve also seen a person who was in a coma and wasn’t responding then respond to a dog visiting in the room.”

She said those instances are few and far between, but most of the time dogs and cats receive plenty of love from whoever they visit.

Becoming a Pet Partner with Compassionate Paws does require some work. Downey said some training is involved for both pet and handler, as well as testing, which will be covered during the June 2 meeting for those interested.

Visit petpartners.org or romepaws.org to learn more about how to become a Pet Partner or take part with Compassionate Paws.