Archive: Aug 2017

  1. Get to know – Kathy Pidgeon

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    Get to know – Kathy Pidegon

    1. How did you learn about Gabriel’s  Angels?

    I first learned about Gabriel’s Angels and Pam Gaber when I was Director of Phoenix Suns Charities. Our board selected Gabriel’s Angels to receive a grant check and I met Pam personally when I handed her a check at our Grants Reception. I was immediately touched by Pam’s vision, her passion and  her proven results providing pet therapy to children at risk

    1. What was your moment of inspiration to become a donor?

    My sister Mary passed away quite suddenly 5 years ago. She was my only sister and best friend. I had gifted Mary a puppy named Nicky to keep her company, as Mary was widowed quite young and suffer much trauma from losing her husband at such a young age. Nicky became, in effect, a therapy dog for Mary and provided her with love, affection, and focus. I chose to make a meaningful donation to Gabriel’s Angels in memory of my sister as a way to honor her memory and support an organization such as Gabriel’s Angels that provides therapy to children who have been the victim of trauma.

    1. Do you have a pet at home? If so, have you experienced therapy from your own Pet?

    I currently have 3 pups at home: Max, a crazy Brittany Spaniel who is 14, Riley, a sweet Duck Tolling Retriever I adopted in Flagstaff who is 13 and my baby, Liberty aka Libby, a 1 year old King Charles Cavalier who was born on 9/11. All of my dogs bring me such joy and unconditional love.

    Libby, in particular, has become my therapy dog, she is certified as a comfort dog and travels with me on planes, trains, and automobiles! I have had my share of loss in the last 5 years including a serious cancer diagnosis. Libby has provided me with more therapy in her one short year of life than a thousand therapists could ever provide! Libby is an illustration of the power of animals to connect with humans in the most vulnerable of times.

    1. What would you tell someone about Gabriel’s Angels to encourage them to become a donor themselves?

    I would encourage them to consider donating to Gabriel’s Angels for so many reasons. As an attorney dedicated to handling the adoptions of foster children, I understand the vast need for permanency and safe homes for our 19,000 foster children in care in Arizona. Donating to Gabriel’s Angels is a perfect way to make a difference in a child’s life. We all need to take responsibility for our vulnerable children in some way. Gabriel’s Angels’ provides the sort of love that lasts forever. There is no more deserving organization in Arizona. Donate now! And don’t forget to attend Salud on October 6th where you can donate and enjoy a wonderful night of fun, food, entertainment, and inspiration!

  2. Stories from the Frontlines

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    Gentle Giants 
    Mary Watson has been a Therapy Team with Gabriel’s Angels for six years with her 3 Mastiffs – Micah, Pebbles, and Murphy. We asked her to share a few stories with us about her gentle giants at their pet therapy visits.

    A humorous moment

    Micah and I were working with the children on New Year’s Resolutions and incorporating building core behaviors.  One little girl wrote, “I resolve to be more tolerant of my cravings for M&Ms.”

    A heartfelt moment

    Murphy and I were on a visit to a group home where the kids are required to participate in the group together. However, there was one girl, curled up on a couch sobbing who had separated herself from the group. After working with the children for about 40 minutes, Murphy and I made our way to the girl still curled up, hiding under the pillows of the couch. Murphy immediately went to the sofa and nose-bumped and nuzzled her way to the crying child’s face.

    When the girl sat up, Murphy immediately started licking the tears from her cheeks. The girl buried her fingers in the soft fur of Murphy’s large neck and then she slid onto the floor holding on to Murphy. Of course, Murphy then tried to sit in her lap to give more love to the girl. At that point, I tried to encourage Murphy to sit next to her due to Murphy’s size, but the girl looked up at me with big tearful eyes, shaking her head as she clung to Murphy. Within a few minutes, she finally released her grip on Murphy and started to stand. I asked the girl if felt better. Her response was a bright smile and nod. 

  3. Mary Meredith School Video

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    Thank You for Sam Locke for creating this great video! 

  4. Press Release – Announcement of Program Expansion

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    Phoenix, AZ – August 17, 2017 – Gabriel’s Angels, the only non-profit organization in Arizona that delivers healing pet therapy to at-risk children, announces an innovative program expansion – Animals, Books, and Children (ABC). ABC utilizes Animal-Assisted Reading Activities to both increase literacy competencies, and work to improve the core behaviors of attachment, affiliation, confidence, empathy, respect, self-regulation, and tolerance that Gabriel’s Angels has always focused upon.

    The National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD, part of the National Institute of Health), reports that nearly 40% of at-risk fourth graders read below basic levels. For children, reading difficulties leads to social and emotional problems, including despair, difficulties with attachment, depression, and anxiety. By incorporating activities designed to improve the aforementioned seven core behaviors, the ABC program can directly address these issues while also improving the children’s reading skills. A study by the University of California – Davis confirmed young students who read out loud to dogs improved their reading skills by 12% over the course of a 10-week program, while children in the same program who didn’t read to dogs showed no improvement. Reading to a dog can enhance self-esteem, improve vocabulary, motivate speech, increase knowledge and build confidence.

    Gabriel’s Angels’ Animals, Books, and Children (ABC) program will service schools that serve at-risk children and provide literacy testing. School staff will identify children that would most benefit from individual reading practice in a safe and non-judgmental environment. Pet therapy teams will visit the school weekly, seeing children individually during a one-hour session – focusing on improving reading skills, comprehension, and speed, as well as developing core social behaviors. The series will have a 12-16 week duration.  During each session, the individual child will have time to feel comfortable, work directly on reading skills, and engage in a fun behavioral development activities. Each series concludes with a celebration and certificate ceremony. Pet therapy teams will administer the San Diego Quick Assessment and all schools will be required to provide state or district pre and post reading test scores so that Gabriel’s Angels can assess program efficacy.

    Initial feedback from early participants has been positive:

    “Gabriel’s Angels ABC program is incredibly beneficial to our students. Our students made significant progress that data and observation reflect. The best part for me, as the instructional coach, was to see the joy in kids who normally have a negative view on reading. Best of all, they began to enjoy reading. I highly recommend this program!”

    Reading Interventionist, Mesa Center for Success

    Michele Shipitofsky
    602-266-0875 EX.13
    To Join as a Team Contact:
    About Gabriel’s Angels
    Gabriel’s Angels is a 501(3)C nonprofit organization whose mission is to deliver healing pet therapy to at-risk children, nurturing their emotional development and enhancing the quality of their lives forever.Registered Pet Therapy Teams, comprised of owners and their pets, visit facilities serving abused, neglected and at-risk children in the Phoenix, Tucson and Prescott areas. The therapy visits provide children with unconditional love and teach core social behaviors. For more information about becoming a Therapy Team or volunteer, please call 602-266-0875 or visit


  5. Save the Date for Salud!

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    For tickets and more information please select the following location link! 


    Phoenix          Tucson

Gabriel's Angels