Mid-Continent Kennel Club of Tulsa
MCKC Member Spotlight: Amy McCarthy
Amy McCarthy's motivation to do therapy dog work began when her dad was in a nursing home, and her family would bring his golden retriever to visit. Witnessing the joy these visits brought to her father, the seed was planted to pursue this type of volunteer work if she ever had a dog with a suitable temperament. Amy hit the jackpot with the Saint Bernard breed! Amy's first step in this type of canine work was becoming a registered member of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs in 2006, where for the past 8 years, she has been a tester/observer.
Then in 2019, Tulsa International Airport decided to establish a therapy dog program and reached out to Amy for help. She was named one of the three co-chairs who, along with the director of volunteers at TIA, examined other programs across the country and put together the program called the Welcome Waggin'. Along the way, Amy and her dogs became active participants in the Tulsa Public Library's Paws for Reading and CHAMPS (Coaches, Handlers & Many Paws), a program that utilizes therapy dogs to work with young adults that have developmental disabilities.
Additionally, "Team McCarthy" regularly visits assisted living centers and memory units, calls on local colleges and universities during exam time as a calming distraction and is a Pink Paws member of St. Francis Medical Center's therapy dog group. Besides scheduled visits to the hospital's campus, they are also called upon for crisis situations, such as the recent mass shooting at the hospital last June. All of Amy's therapy dogs have been Saint Bernards. This giant breed is always a crowd-pleaser because of its size and gentle temperament.
Mandy was Amy's first therapy dog and was followed by Bella, but Amy really began to thrive as a therapy dog handler when Twister kicked off his career. An old soul from the beginning, Twister was a natural, doing any activity that was asked of him, including two or more visits in one day. Twister earned multiple therapy dog titles and chalked up over 500 visits during his career. Amy's current therapy dogs are Tuffie and Nash. to date, Tuffie has done more than 200 visits, and Nash has achieved just over 50 visits. Amy considers therapy dog work a win/win situation for herself. She gets the opportunity to do good by giving back to the Tulsa community while spending time with the dogs she adores.