Rowan To Host The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium

Pich and Frei with Pich’s therapy dog, Vivian. Photo credit: Rowan University.

GLASSBORO, N.J. — Rowan University will host The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium on November 19 in conjunction with the annual Kennel Club of Philadelphia’s National Dog Show from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. in the Chamberlain Student Center Ballroom on the Glassboro campus.

The program, the first of its kind for Rowan will be a forum for therapy dog practitioners, advocates, and aspirants from the Mid-Atlantic Region as well as for members of the veterinary community to share information and develop therapy dog best practices.

The symposium follows the recent launch of the Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program of Rowan University, a new initiative funded through a $3 million gift this summer by Gerald Shreiber, CEO of J&J Snack Foods Corp. of Pennsauken.

Shreiber, a lifelong pet lover and one of the symposium’s featured speakers, believes that therapy dogs can be especially valuable as a stress reliever for college students and studies have shown that he’s right: simply being around a dog for a short period of time can reduce anxiety, increase confidence and may help lower blood pressure.

According to the Mayo Clinic, pet therapy can benefit people receiving cancer treatment, those in long-term care facilities, patients with cardiovascular diseases and dementia, even veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The National Dog Show Therapy Dog Symposium is a joint venture between the National Dog Show and Rowan University. David Frei, a longtime therapy dog advocate and co-host of the National Dog Show on NBC, and Michele Pich, assistant director of Rowan’s Shreiber Family Pet Therapy Program, organized the program and will be featured speakers. Pich and Frei are also members of the National Dog Show Therapy Dog Ambassador Team.

Therapy Dog Ambassador Teams visit medical facilities, schools, and nursing homes year-round, including to brighten the lives of dozens of young patients and their parents, according to the American Kennel Club webpage. 

Training for the dogs takes about one year and requires basic and advanced obedience, along with Canine Good Citizen classes. The program also requires participating dogs to have their immunizations up to date and a history of regular veterinary hospital check-ups, and signed health vouchers according to the Kennel Club.

Registration for the symposium is $35 and includes breakfast, lunch, and information sessions. Register today!

For questions about the symposium, email

Correction: An earlier version of this story suggested that this symposium was the first of its kind for the East Coast, however, the University of North Florida has its own annual animal-assisted therapy symposium and expo that is about to enter its fourth year of operation.