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Norwich Bulletin - 5/31/2009

Therapy Animals

Therapy animals – we have several wonderful cats in our Helping Paws’ Mysticats Cat Club. These cats are doing Milo proud. We have associated with our club – The Dillinger Gang Therapy Group. And their available to help wherever they may be needed.

The Dillinger Gang was started by one of our club members, Keira Nguyen, along with her two Junior Exhibitor daughters, Malina, age 11 and Serina, age 9. The three of them work with local elementary school children and teach them about cat care, and also give children exposure to purebred cats, as well as domestics. Regional Winner Quadruple Grand Champion Mystre Dillinger, is a Bengal who is hailed as the Bengal Ambassador of Therapy for founding what is essentially his group, as well as his namesake.

The children learn about the history of the breeds of cats that are brought to the school and there is an age appropriate interactive presentation, which includes a question and answer session afterwards. Included in the presentation is the inclusion of the domestic rescue cat, and explains what is entailed when you rescue a cat from a truly bad situation. The trio have often brought one of their own rescue cats with before and after pictures so the children can visually understand the changes each rescue goes through when they finally get their forever home.

The Dillinger Gang is a non-profit group that works with nursing homes as well, and will also work one on one with special needs children. Each presentation is different and based on the individual person’s need and situation. There are many presentations which have to do with training your cat as well. The Dillinger gang uses clicker training and also offers a powerpoint presentation on the life of these special cats.

Many lives have been touched by this group. Children suffering from abuse and ADHD as well as many other issues, and elderly men and women in local nursing homes have been touched by having Dillinger and Company visiting and doing some special tricks for them. “Dilly” as he is affectionately called by his family received his very own letters from grade school children from the Waterford Elementary School last year, discussing what they learned and what they liked about the presentation.

It is also very special to have young people like Malina and Serina involved in the presentations. The International Cat Association, which will be the association sanctioning our June cat show in Fitchburg, Massachusetts next weekend, offers a Junior Exhibitor Program which allows children to participate in the shows on their own level, learning about their own cat and working on their oral presentation skills.

Also part of Mysticats is Alisa Bobinski and her therapy Abyssinian, Pentaclecats Ring O’Fire, better known as Rusty. Alisa and Rusty have visited many local assisted living homes and Rusty seems to know exactly who needs him the most on any given day. Cats are truly amazing little people with fur!

Besides Dillinger, the Nguyens will be introducing their newest members of their family as well as the therapy group; a ruddy Abyssinian kitten, Pentaclecats Nightstar (who is Malina’s kitten), as well as a black and white longhair Munchkin kitten, Manowyddan’s Kung Fu Panda, who belongs to Serina.

If you would like to meet these fantastic cats and talk to Keira or Alisa about coming to your facility with their cats, please join us on June 6 and 7, 2009, at the Wallace Civic Center, Gaetz Arena, 1000 John Fitch Highway, Fitchburg, Massachusetts between 10 and 4 pm either day and experience these cats for yourself. There will be a lot of other things to see as well – we have a lot of vendors selling everything from nuts to glass figurines to jewelry to six foot cat furniture!

We will have some pretty amazing raffles going on, including one for a three tier cat tree. We will have rare cats and common cats competing in their own divisions for titles and awards. Six dollars for an adult gets you in the door and $1 of that entry money goes to the local soup kitchen. We are also collecting human and cat food for the local food bank.

So plan on taking a ride over to the Mysticats show the first weekend of June. And if you can’t make it, but are interested in having the Dillinger Gang Cat Therapy Group visit a facility in the area, please email and they will respond.

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