$400,000 Gift Supports Therapy Dog Programs

The gift will help create a program for therapy dogs to visit elder care facilities.

The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation has donated $400,000 to the University of Missouri-Columbia College of Veterinary Medicine to support the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, which promotes awareness of the health benefits associated with the human-animal bond.

The Lil’ Red Foundation gift will help create a new program in which cats, dogs, and their handlers can visit older adults in nursing homes, retirement facilities, and their own homes across Missouri.

“With the Baby Boomers soon getting to the age, in general, where they will be needing elder care, I believe a huge opportunity exists for therapy dogs and other pets to play a larger role in their lives and happiness,” said Joe Roetheli, who heads The Roetheli Lil’ Red Foundation with his wife, Judy, both creators of Greenies dog biscuits.

“Today, families are much smaller and more geographically dispersed leaving few local relatives to visit those in elder care facilities. Many residents of elder care facilities have been pet owners. Not only were these residents uprooted from their homes when placed in elder care facilities, but they also were separated from their pets.”

The Roetheli’s, who created the Lil’ Red Foundation, also created Greenies in 1998 under their company S&M NuTec LLC. The company was purchased by Mars Inc. in 2006.

For more information about the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, visit www.rechai.missouri.edu/main.htm.

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