Finalists Announced for the International Delta Society Beyond Limits Awards Sponsored by Purina

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Voting is now open to the public to select the winner of the Pet Partners (therapy animal) Team of the Year. These dedicated volunteers with their dogs are helping improve people's health and well-being in their communities and serving as inspirational role models for people all across the globe.

All of us should be inspired by the dedication and commitment each of these teams makes to change lives in their communities

Five very special handlers and their animal partners have been announced as finalists for Pet Partners® Team of the Year as part of Delta Society's Beyond Limits Awards® sponsored by Purina. Each of these human-animal teams are changing the lives of people in their local communities -- people who need a little joy, compassion, motivation and unconditional love that only an animal companion can provide.

Each year Delta Society honors the very best in the field of Animal-Assisted Activities / Therapy (often referred to as therapy animal programs). Nominations for this award came from across the country with a judging committee having the difficult job of narrowing it down to five finalists.

These teams volunteer in their local communities providing comfort to pediatric patients undergoing radiation treatments, inspiring children to learn to read while increasing their self-esteem, providing unique ways to help students with learning disabilities 'connect the dots' and motivating seniors to exercise and stay socially connected. They bring a bit of 'normalcy' to hospitalized patients enabling them to forget about their pain for a bit and provide much needed stress breaks for nurses, doctors and other healthcare providers.

"All of us should be inspired by the dedication and commitment each of these teams makes to change lives in their communities," noted Lawrence Norvell, President and CEO of Delta Society. "The bond that each handler-animal team has and brings forth in their volunteer efforts is a true testament to the power of the human-animal bond."

The finalists are Nena Moon and Ellie (Miniature Schnauzer) from Alabama, Heddi Leger and Hero (Rottweiler) from Missouri, Joseph Kurland and Jake (Bernese Mountain Dog / Golden Retriever mix) from Colorado, Laura Ibsen and Patches (Yorkshire Terrier) from Arizona, and Lisa Edwards and Boo (mix breed) from New York.

Voting to select the final winner is open to the public. Cast your vote online at http://www.DeltaSociety.org through February 7th. The website features videos of each team at work so you can see, and hear from them directly of how they are truly making a difference in their communities -- and inspiring others across the globe.

About Delta Society
Delta Society was founded in 1977 by a Veterinarian and a Psychologist who observed in their own practices that pets had a positive effect on their human patients. They started the organization to fund some of the first credible research which proved that animals have a profound impact on people's health by lowering their blood pressure, reducing stress and anxiety levels, stimulating the release of endorphins which make people feel good, and so much more. Today, Delta Society is an international non-profit organization focused on building awareness and empowering people to interact with companion, therapy, and service animals as a way to improve their own health and well-being, as well as the health of others in their community. To learn more visit our website at http://www.deltasociety.org.

About Nestlé Purina Pet Care
Nestlé Purina PetCare promotes responsible pet care, community involvement and the positive bond between people and their pets. A premiere global manufacturer of pet products, Nestlé Purina Pet Care is part of the Swiss-based Nestlé S.A., the world's largest pet food company.

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JoAnn Turnbull
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