This year's conference, “Healing Walks on Four Legs: The Impact of Pet Therapy” is Feb. 24, from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington.

PAWS for People, a volunteer nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one animal-assisted therapy and comfort for children and adults with physical, social and emotional challenges, will hold a conference/annual meeting in Wilmington on Feb. 24

Every year, the PAWS for People conference/annual meeting brings new information, inspiration and ideas from the world of pet therapy to animal enthusiasts, professionals and everyone who loves their pets. This year’s conference is no different.

“Healing Walks on Four Legs: The Impact of Pet Therapy” will be held Saturday Feb. 24, from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, 1600 Rockland Road, Wilmington.

Keynote speaker is Bradford Cole, executive director, K9 First Responders, Inc., a Connecticut-based Critical Incident Mental Health Support organization. K9FR teams bridge the gap between a traumatic event and the connection to mental health services.

Cole will explain how teams leverage the canine/human bond to help restore a person’s mental and cognitive equilibrium following a trauma.

“We are fortunate to have Brad Cole as our keynote speaker this year,” said Lynne Robinson, PAWS for People’s executive director. “His experience with K9 first responders during such recent traumatic events as the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, the Boston Marathon bombing and the Las Vegas massacre will help our audience understand the true impact pet therapy can have on individuals and groups.”

The conference features 15 workshops from which to choose; a FUN Zone, with pet-themed activities and crafts; and a buffet lunch. Workshop topics include: “Pet Emergency First Aid,” “The Changing Environment in the Pet Food Industry,” “The Benefits of Pet Therapy in Hospice,” “The Impact of Pet Therapy on Dementia,” and “Reading Dog Body Language,” Also offered are courses specific to pet therapy; PAWS for Reading training and how to become a PAWS pet therapy team.

Registration includes four workshops (choose from four options each session), lunch and other extras. Registration: $60. $5 discount for PAWS members. Register online: or call 302-351-5622.

Currently, more than 500 PAWS therapy teams visit more than 160 facilities in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland. Visitation sites include hospices; assisted living facilities; Alzheimer’s units; chemotherapy treatment rooms; physical and occupational rehabilitation; and drug and alcohol treatment centers. In addition, PAWS for Reading teams provide reading sessions in schools and libraries to help children enjoy reading while improving their literacy skills with the comfort and encouragement of an affectionate cat, dog or bunny.

For information on training, visit