Jana Thomas knows quite a lot about what unconditional love can do for a shut-in from her own personal experience. Jana was born with Spina Bifida, a condition that has left her wearing braces on both legs and using a wheelchair when walking gets too difficult, which is getting more and more often. She says without the love of her dogs, she would not have been as mobile as she is today and would not be able to tolerate the constant pain she is in.
Jana started visiting a nursing home with her Shetland Sheepdogs in 1983. What started out as a simple obedience demonstration for the residents, became a lifelong passion of bringing joy to anyone that needed a little unconditional love or a smile.
Jana has been a tester/observer for Therapy Dogs Inc. since the National organization began their testing program. She teaches Puppy Kindergarten and Beginner Obedience Classes for her veterinarian and is also an AKC Canine Good Citizen evaluator.
Jana has started therapy dog programs for Memorial Healthcare Systems (MHS), the Broward County School system and Vitas Hospice of Broward County (she was named Volunteer of the Year in 2004). She regularly visits Memorial Manor nursing home, Memorial West, Memorial Pembroke, Memorial Regional/Joe Dimaggio Childrens Hospital and the Juvenile Court in Palm Beach County. Jana started volunteering in 2003 at New Employee Orientations, twice a month for MHS, to educate all new hospital employees the 'job' therapy dogs do within healthcare facilities. She was made part of the 'Peace Corps', a program of the MHS that helps employees relieve stress in 2004. Jana is on call to relieve stress with doggie snuggles for employees of MHS.
In March of 2009, Jana and Joy completed a four day seminar in Animal Assisted Crisis Response. Jana and Joy were one of 5 out of the 8 therapy dog teams attending the seminar in the entire State if Florida to pass this extensive training course. Jana and Joy are now certified to visit places where people have severe emotional trauma, i.e. after school shootings, hurricane shelters, disasters.
Jana also enjoys competing with her Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs at Obedience, Rally and Agility Trials and at Conformation Shows. Click here to see Joy trying out for American Idol. Click here to see a picture of Jana's newest Therapy Dog, Jack.
Home Pictures Donations Training Programs
Dog Obedience Club Of Hollywood, Inc. - member since 1977, Obedience and Agility Instructor
Shetland Sheepdog Club of Southeast Florida - member since 1982
Therapy Dogs Inc. - member since 1984, current Tester/Observer
Ft. Lauderdale Dog Club - member since 1987, Board of Director
Australian Shepherd Club of America - member since 1992
Gold Coast Dog Club - member since 1996
American Kennel Club - Canine Good Citizen Evaluator
Service Dogs 4 Service Men - Director at Large
Titles Obtained on her dogs:
Sir Lancelot of the Lake II, AKC CD (English Springer Spaniel) at Rainbow Bridge
Linden Toasted Topaz, AKC CDX, WWKC CDX, CGC (Shetland Sheepdog) at Rainbow Bridge
Starfall’s Burnin’ Ember O’Topaz, AKC CD, HIC, WWKC CD, CGC (Shetland Sheepdog) at Rainbow Bridge
Pretty Boy Floyd O’Topaz, AKC CD, (Shetland Sheepdog) at Rainbow Bridge
Winter Smooth Sailing O’Topaz, AKC CD, WWKC CD, CGC (Shetland Sheepdog) at Rainbow Bridge
Goldengait Service With a Smile, AKC CD, WWKC CD, TT, CGC (Australian Shepherd) at Rainbow Bridge
U-AGI Topaz Talk of the Town, AKC CD, TT, CGC (Australian Shepherd) at Rainbow Bridge
Topaz World’s Greatest Lover, AKC CD, TT, CGC (Australian Shepherd) at Rainbow Bridge
U-AGI, U-CD, WWKC-CH Topaz a Star is Born, AKC CD, AKC RN (achieved at 11 yrs. old!), TT, CGC (Australian Shepherd) at Rainbow Bridge
AKC Ptd., U-CH Suncatcher’s Ring for Service, AKC RN (Australian Shepherd) at Rainbow Bridge
U-AGI Simcos Meyer the Cryer, AKC RN, CGC, Reg. Therapy Dog-retired (Shetland Sheepdog)
U-CH Topaz Watching Over Me, AKC RN, Reg. Therapy Dog-retired (Australian Shepherd)
Topaz To Where You Are, AKC RN, CGC (Australian Shepherd)
Kealoha Joy To The World, AKC RN, CGC, Reg. Therapy Dog (Shetland Sheepdog)
AKC Ptd. Navrock's Jack of all Trades, AKC RN, CGC, Reg. Therapy Dog (Australian Shepherd)