SERVING A VARIETY OF CLIENTS
LAPS serves a variety of clients in different settings and locations in Napa, Sonoma and Solano Counties of Northern California. At each therapy visit, teams focus on relieving stress and bringing encouragement to those they meet. It is the goal of each session to leave the clients, their families and staff happier and calmer than when we arrived.
Our therapy animals and volunteers enjoy spending time with:
- Older adults in Senior and Skilled Nursing Facilities
where teams enjoy visiting and hearing personal stories from residents. Often teams will share tricks and games during sessions, giving residents a chance to ‘play’ with the pets. These sessions usually occur in a facility common area; however, room visits can be requested by staff and family.
- Patients of all ages in Hospitals
where therapy animals give individuals a little one-one-one time. These visits are a break from everyday circumstances and a chance for patients to share their stories.
- Young Adult and College Programs
have considerable stress, making studies difficult. We have found providing on-campus ‘special events’ has given students the chance to relax, laugh and enjoy time with their fellow students.
- Teens & Younger kids in School Programs
focus on fun and educational activities that encourage positive interactions among the students, animals, volunteers and attending staff. Note: LAPS requires additional training and skills for both the handler and the pet for participation in school settings.
- Young Readers in CAPERS (Children and Pets Enjoy Reading Success)
is a program which provides one-on-one reading assistance to elementary-aged children at Solano County Public Libraries. This program was created in memory of LAPS co-founder, Carolyn Lenzi, a longtime and dedicated educator.
2021 UPDATE: Due to COVID-10 precautions, our program offerings are changing. Currently LAPS and MHPS are providing Distance Visits outside facilities following CDC and local health department guidelines, and Virtual Visits where teams can connect with clients on their computers or phones. Please contact LAPS for more information.
To observe a visit, please make arrangements by calling our office at (707) 265-6642.
meeting the needs of clients
starting a new program
Loving Animals Providing Smiles (LAPS) makes every effort to meet the needs of the clients and facilities we serve. The support of management and staff is vital for the success of long-term programs and special events. We are limited in the programs we can schedule by the number of available therapy teams however; we do our best to fill as many requests as possible.
Our process for establishing an ongoing program starts with the completion and submission of the LAPS Request for Team Visits (link opens in new tab). This 2-page form shares basic details about the location and contact information of the facility. It can be sent via mail, fax or email.
Once the Request for Team Visits form is received, our LAPS Coordinator will reach out to volunteers to see whether enough teams can attend on the days and times proposed on the form. She/he will then connect with the facility contact person. In most cases, a Site Visit is arranged where a senior LAPS member meets the contact and learns specifics about the facility’s site, physical space, staff goals and any specifics that would help therapy teams during sessions. The LAPS volunteer will bring this form with him/her and will fill out with the contact person.
Once a day and time has been set and LAPS teams committed to participate, an attending member will become the Program Coordinator for the site. It is this volunteer’s responsibility to ensure LAPS sessions are successful and site staff / management remain informed and supportive.
In some cases, original schedules for LAPS sessions will be adjusted. This can occur due to change in staffing, change in volunteer pool and/or changes to facility schedules. We are always open to making adjustments to keep programs successful.
requesting a special visit
Loving Animals Providing Smiles (LAPS) has supported many community groups with one-time or annual visits for special occasions. Since our inception, these requests have taken many forms. We have provided:
- Visiting classrooms and after-school programs. These sessions have included pet safety, responsibility, and other topics as requested by teachers.
- Participating in read-a-thons and summer reading programs at libraries and schools.
- Spending time with families at holiday events hosted by ParentsCan and Elk Lodge in Napa.
- In service training for facility staff, healthcare and educational professionals to share insights on how to best utilize animal-assisted therapy teams including safety and quality guidance.
- Speaking about therapy animals and the work they do at local groups and service organizations like Kiwanis, Napa Senior Center, Young Survivors Coalition Conference and on Positively Napa, community access Channel 28’s program hosted by Tim Wilson.
If your group is interested in a Special LAPS visit, please download and complete the Special Visit Request form (link opens in a new tab) and mail, fax or email to us. A volunteer will contact you.
not in our area?
If you are not in our area, and wish to find a therapy team, please consider Pet Partners®. This national organization has information specifically for facilities on its website.