Matt and his family live on a farm, and have a wide variety of animals. Their two main animals are beautiful Leonberger dogs named Alvin and Arlo. Matt and his parents, Steve and Julie, are trained to provide therapy with their animals.
Matt does a lot of work to help take care of all the animals.
His favorite animal on the farm is his Boston terrier, Levi. Levi sleeps with Matt, takes walks with him, and if Matt is sitting down Levi will be sitting in his lap.
Matt is always ready to help with the different projects that the family does for local non-profit organizations, such as constructing fences, building a grooming area for the local animal shelter, cleaning, etc. Matt has also volunteered at the local food pantry, Cope environmental, several churches, and the Museum. He always volunteers without asking for anything in return.
Matt has been a very important part of the family's volunteer therapy dog program from the beginning about 20 years ago. It was because of him that they started their program. He was always in special classes and the family began taking their dogs to visit the children, who were so happy to interact with the dogs. So, the family continued on with Matt's help. He has assisted with hundreds of visits to different facilities.
The residents at the facilities love to talk with Matt and he loves to see their smiles. He helps the family take the dogs (and other animals) to schools, nursing facilities, hospitals, addiction recovery centers and many other places. He also helps at Christmas time with ringing the bell for Salvation Army with the dogs, and also does some ringing on his own while handing out candy canes and smiling with his infectious smile.
A few years ago, the family began opening up their mini farm to visitors such as nursing facilities, church groups, families and anyone that wants to visit their 2 mini donkeys, 2 miniature horses, 3 alpacas, 3 pygmy goats, 1 pig and 2 sheep. Matt helps set up their canopies, tables and chairs, helps serve the food and drinks, and introduces visitors to the animals.
A year or so ago, Shelly Davis, of Kids at Heart Publishing, LLC, asked to compile a children's book about the family's dog Alvin. They said yes, just as long as it's about the benefits of volunteering. Matt contributed information and pictures for the book. (He's even in the book, referred to as Alvin's big brother). Keep up the good work, Matt!!