Killeen resident Nicole Dorman was diagnosed with Stage II cancer Jan. 7.

Dorman, whose daughter, Anastazija Bingham, is a volunteer at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Library, attended the library’s Critter Club program Wednesday.

“I think it’s pretty cool for them to have therapy dogs,” Dorman said.

Linda McNabb and Melinda White, volunteers for Therapy Dogs International, brought 3-year-old Saint Bernard Bradshaw and 5-year-old English setter Will for the program.

Therapy Dogs International is a volunteer organization dedicated to regulating, testing and registering therapy dogs for the purpose of visiting nursing homes, hospitals, schools, other facilities and wherever therapy dogs are needed, according to the organization’s website.

McNabb said the therapy dogs have been to the Veterans Affairs hospitals and nursing homes, and it’s fun to watch the dogs grow.

“If they get next to a bed, if someone can’t move their hands too much, they’ll get their nose under it and move their hand so they can touch them,” she said.

As she fielded questions about the dogs, McNabb said temperament is key to therapy dogs.

“Right now if any of you are afraid of the dogs or are excited about the dogs, they know that,” she told the group. “When you walked in they could tell this person’s scared, this person’s happy, this person’s sad. They can feel your energy and that’s what kind of makes them special.”

While Bradshaw and Will have good temperaments, McNabb urged the group of children petting them Wednesday to not pet strange dogs and to never look a dog in the eye because the dog could perceive it as them being challenged in an aggressive manner.

Contact Rachael Riley at or 254-501-7553

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