When Cindy Lindh began Pets With A Mission, Inc. (formerly known as Montgomery Pet Partners), she was a language arts teacher at Montgomery Middle School in Montgomery, Texas. She realized that by utilizing the natural animal/human bond, she could create an interesting, non-judgmental atmosphere in her classroom conducive to increased interest and higher achievement in reading.
Over a period of time experimenting with different methods of employing her Labrador retriever Rosey during reading classes, she discovered that even shy and timid children looked forward to reading with a dog. Children who were reluctant to read aloud in front of their peers were enthusiastic about reading to a warm, fuzzy, friendly dog.
In 2002 the program was expanded by adding volunteer teams who began working once a week with designated students on a one-on-one basis. Intermountain Therapy Animals' (ITA) R.E.A.D.® program was used as a model for the first teams. In order to become a member of Pets With A Mission (PWAM), it was established early on that each therapy team was required to pass an evaluation, and become an ITA registered therapy team. The MISD School Board approved the project for the district in 2002. PWAM was granted 501(c)(3) status in December of 2003.
As we approach our 17th anniversary, Pets With A Mission has grown from two registered handler/dog teams into over 65 registered teams. Our mission has expanded beyond reading literacy to include interactions in hospitals, libraries, senior facilities, and community events.