Paws 4 Healing/Pet Partners®

Thanks to a partnership with Paws 4 Healing, Inc. in partnership with Pet Partners®, Sierra View is able to offer both animal-assisted therapy and animal-assisted activities to our patients. Not only do therapy animals provide patients a fun diversion from the hospital routine, but studies have shown that pet therapy can also be beneficial to the healing process. Visits with these animals can help a patient relax, lower blood pressure, reduce feelings of loneliness or depression, improve balance and postural control, and much more.

Meet Our Pet Partners!

group of seven volunteers with their dogs


allie the dog, a small mix breed

Hobbies: I love to play with my toys and do tricks for people. In fact, learning new tricks is one of my favorite things! Once I have mastered a trick, I am anxious to start learning a new one so I can show off my skills. Some of my command tricks include sit, stay, lie down, roll over, speak, shake, come, leave it, wait, give, and get it; I can sit up on my hind legs and jump through a hula hoop too. I enjoy traveling with my human parents in their fifth wheel trailer. I am an excellent traveler and have been to Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, Nevada, Colorado, Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, and many places in California.

Training: I went to puppy, intermediate, and advanced school at PetSmart and I'm always learning special tricks at home. I'm also a registered Pet Therapy Dog for Pet Partners® and Paws 4 Healing.

Experience: I have been in Paws 4 Healing for 10 years. I visit hospitals, nursing homes, adult day cares and mental disabilities facilities. I love to visit people and entertain them with my tricks. My mom and I like to call our visits 'pet the people' and I often become attached to them as friends.

Socially: I love people and am very friendly. I think that everyone that comes to the house is there just to visit me!

Full Name: Allie Mae Owen Species: Canine Breed: Rat Terrier
Birthdate: May 28, 2006 Weight: 20 pounds Owner/Handler: Marsha Owen


Auchi a golden retriever shaking hands with a human

Hobbies: Auchi enjoys chasing balls, being petted, hugged and scratched! He also loves to please his handler. Dan likes traveling, scuba diving and participating in photography!

Training: I became a part of the Winchester family in February of 2012. I’ve successfully completed puppy and young dog training through PetSmart and I’ve proved myself to be attentive and caring. Since then, I’ve completed various training sessions at PetSmart and enjoy coming to Sierra View Medical Center to cheer up patients!

Experience: Sierra View isn’t the only place Dan and I visit, we go to rest homes, rehab centers, disadvantaged shelters, Porterville Adult Day Services and Valley Adult Day Services, churches, parades, 5K walks and even stores.

Socially: Dan likes to compare me to Will Rogers because he says I’ve never met a person I don’t like.

Full Name: Auchi Winchester Species: Canine Breed: Golden Retriever
Birthdate: December 12, 2011 Weight: 85 pounds Owner/Handler: Dan Winchester


Gloria, a stunning greyhound with a brindle coat

Hobbies: I'm a busy, go-getter who lives for ear scratches & belly rubs. I get so excited for walks and visiting my people, I can crow-hop like a wild mustang. My best feature is my big brown eyes and sweet pointy nose that I use for extra scratches or extracting additional treats. My best hobby is snoozing after doing zoomies in our backyard with my sister, Maddy. I sleep with one eye open as I never know when I might be needed for a fast delivery.

Training: I was born and raised on a puppy farm for racing greyhounds, then raced for three years on National Greyhound Association sanctioned A & B tracks. GreySave Greyhound Adoption support group transported me from the Aqua Caliente track so I could retire to a warm home with a soft couch of my own. Mom & I took lessons so I could learn to sit, stay & down, which helped us qualify as a Pet Therapy Team for Paws4Healing/PetPartners .

Experience: Now that I'm a retired racer, I'm starting my second career visiting hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care and facilities for mental disabilities, as well as giving demos for interested groups.

Socially: Mom and I were certified as a Pet Therapy Team with PetPartners and Paws4Healing in October 2017 and we've enjoyed visiting Sierra View Medical Center, Sierra Rehab, Sheltered Workshop, and P.A.D.S. I make new friends wherever Mom takes me and we have fun making new memories.

Full Name: Gloria Estefan Species: Canine Breed: Greyhound
Birthdate: July 8, 2012 Weight: 52 pounds Owner/Handler: Carole Trask Perez


Lexi a large mastiff with pointy ears

Hobbies: Playing with toys, car rides and doing tricks for people I visit such as sit, down, handshake, and bark only on command. I like picking up the newspapers every morning and taking them to Dad, getting extra treats from Dad and going on two walks a day with Mom. I also like running on the beach and playing with my best dog friend Aztrik.

Training: I have to admit I put my parents through a lot of anxious moments. I arrived in their care at 10 months old, with very little training. I had been through three owners by then. I did not even know what a leash was and I had a very difficult time focusing. When I arrived, my new big sister Emma used to give me haughty looks and disapproving sounds. I didn’t want to grow up. I went through two years of wonderful trainers before I could sit still, focus, follow commands and meet the extra training to be a Paws 4 Healing and Pet Partners Assisted Pet Therapy dog.

Experience: I finally grew up and realized I needed to “step into the big paws of Emma” when she suddenly passed away. With pride, I am now taking over Emma’s Paws 4 Healing/Pet Partners responsibilities. I visit hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, VADS, Porterville Sheltered facilities and Hospice.

Socially: I love greeting people on Paws 4 Healing visits; we meet people in stores, on travels and on walks. Seeing their faces light up with smiles as they reminisce about their own pets, past or present, makes me feel proud that I brought them joy. I am told that my Assisted Pet Therapy visits not only bring smiles to people, but I also lower their blood pressure, help them socialize, provide entertainment and mental stimulation, promote a feeling of well-being, lower heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety. It makes my Mom and Dad proud.

Full Name: Lexi Vafeades Species: Canine Breed: Great Dane, Mantel
Birthdate: January 2, 2012 Weight: 116 pounds Owner/Handler: Jean Vafeades


Hobbies:Alli, a tiny dog with a smushed face My breed dates back over 1,000 years. We were specifically bred to be a companion dog, so we don't require a lot of exercise. My buddy Lilly, who looks a lot like me, but lighter in color, do enjoy a good romp in the backyard and sometimes in the house. We are agile and considered to be catlike because we like heights and use our front paws for cleaning and playing. Lilly, who sometimes visits the hospital too, and I are very accepting of different situations and people. Our biggest hobby is finding a loving lap and making that person happy.

Training: Originally I was trained to be a show dog. Now I'm trained to meet the requirements for "complex" situations under Pet Partners, Paws for Healing. Some of those actions include: sit and stay, come when called, leave it, and go for a walk. Most important is that I always remain calm in any situation.

Experience: I have been with P4H since October of 2015, and my buddy Lilly, joined the group in October of 2017. We love visiting the hospital and other facilities such as the convalescent hospital, adult day care, and facilities for the mentally disabled.

Socially: I love meeting new people and putting a smile on their face. Because of my small size, I can easily be held by young and old.

Full Name: Alli Species: Canine Breed: Japanese Chin
Birthdate: January 19, 2009 Weight: 6 pounds Owner/Handler: Jean Vafeades & Carole Jones


Hobbies:Archie, a small mix with reddish blonde curly hair I love getting out and going for walks around my neighborhood, in local parks and I even do 5ks! When it’s a chilly day or when my little legs need a day off, I get to ride in the front basket of Tessa’s bike and let the wind sweep through my light hair.

Training: Tessa is an excellent teacher and I was so excited to learn everything from her in my new home after she adopted me. We began with the basics like sit, stay, and everything after that was a breeze; it just came natural to me. Let’s just say, I like to please her and I love people.

Experience: I’m one of the newest Pet Partners and I think I was made to be a therapy dog. Since the spring of 2018, we’ve been visiting several people at Sierra View, and in other hospital-like environments. I’m proud to say I can instantly make people feel comfortable and help melt away their sadness when I visit.

Socially: I’m a little shy at first, but it doesn’t take long before I warm up to people and I’m happy to curl up in their lap, especially if they tell me my ears are cute, because that’s usually what they notice first. I guess you could say I’m easy going and calm, so I get along with pretty much anyone.

Full Name: Archie Houston Species: Canine Breed: Poodle Mix
Birthdate: June 8, 2015 Weight: 7.5 pounds Owner/Handler: Tess Houston