Child Advocacy Center Appreciates Kindly Canines  “On a mid-October 2020 morning Raven and Dave Decker successfully supported a tender years client, 14 year old girl, at the Franklin County Courthouse. Amy Hockenberry of Over the Rainbow Child Advocacy Center of Franklin County recognized the benefits of therapy dogs when she thanked us saying, “It really helped so much for not only the victim but her family as well.  It kept them calm in waiting for the testimony to start.  I don’t think I even realized how much she needed that.”

Our Therapy Dogs Will be Able to Visit Again SOON!

Liam remembers his Therapy Dog visit to Hamilton Heights young readers in Chambersburg.

Reese and Cooper trading in their therapy dog vests for hiking vests these days.

This is Sadie Rose doing what she loves best, rides in the car.

Hunter relaxing after a long day, uh, … ‘relaxing’! but ready to resume Therapy Visits

Xia the Therapy dog hanging with the Easter Bunnies  until ok’d to resume Therapy Dog visits.

Discussion about who’s going to drive.  (Foxie top, Gypsy bottom.)  Foxie wins.

How it all began…….

Marti Heater, founder, relocated from the Quakertown area to Chambersburg in 2003 with her two dogs.  Sammi was an 11 year old Golden Retriever and Callie, a 3 year old English Setter.   

In 2001, Marti placed her mother in law in a nursing home for special post surgical care. She was very upset to be in a nursing home. On her first night, Callie, then a one year old puppy, went to see “Grandmom.” Once they arrived, there were other dogs from the local therapy dog group called Paws with Patience, who were there on their regularly scheduled monthly visit. Marti’s mother in law began laughing and hugging the visiting dogs in her bed.

The other residents also really enjoyed the dogs.  Marti and her dogs were hooked.   Having researched the Chambersburg Area before they relocated, Marti worked to qualify as a Tester/Observer with Therapy Dogs Inc.  It was clear that a very large need existed in the area and she had two dogs that were anxious to start working.  They began spreading the word and Kindly Canines was born. Dog lovers became volunteers and not long after Kindly Canines successfully registered as a 501( c ) (3) charity.

Mission Statement

Therapy dog teams provide unconditional acceptance and support to those who desire canine contact through furry creative and educational activities and programs.

Our Qualifications

Each of our Handlers and their dogs have been evaluated by Alliance of Therapy Dogs. ATD is a National non-profit recognized as an authority in certifying therapy dog teams.  All members are insured through ADT and must renew membership annually. Dog health requirements are updated annually.  Click here for more about ATD.

Membership in Kindly Canines is extremely rewarding!  Since it is 100% volunteer, you only participate in visits that you and your dog enjoy.  Membership doesn’t interfere with your busy schedule.  Click on JOIN to learn more.

Meet Some Of Our Therapy Dog Teams

Our Leadership Team

Milan Shepherd – President
Larry Beckman – Vice President
Chantal Wagner
Megan Cook
Nancy Shay – Membership Director
Roxanne Davenport
R.E.A.D.S. Program Director
Joanne Erausquin
PAWS WHO CARE (Nursing Homes) Program Director
Sharon Strike
DARE TO CARE (Hospice)
Program Director
Lorin Morris
Tester/Observer & Historian
Kay Kane

Past Leadership Team Members

Nancy Shay
Chantal Wagner
Joanne Minnich

Places We Serve


Reading Education Assistance Dogs for Students is a support program for children of all ages who will benefit from unconditional acceptance and companionship
when reading. No team member or dog will laugh, correct, or snicker at misspoken words, stuttering, or the child’s reading skills.


  • Alexander Hamilton Memorial Free Library, Waynesboro
  • Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library, Greencastle
  • Coyle Free Library, Chambersburg
  • Grove Family Library, Chambersburg
  • Coy Public Library (Shippensburg Library), Shippensburg


  • Boys & Girls Club – Andrew Buchanan Elementary, Chambersburg
  • Boys & Girls Club – Thadeus Stevens Elementary, Chambersburg
  • CASHS (Chambersburg Area Senior High School), Chambersburg
  • Fayetteville Elementary School, Fayetteville
  • Franklin Learning Center, Chambersburg
  • Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School, Greencastle
  • Hamilton Heights Elementary School, Chambersburg
  • CAMS (Chambersburg Area Middle School) North 

These cards are presented to kids who read to a dog and can be used as bookmarks.


  • Laurel Lakes Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, Chambersburg
  • Menno Haven Rehabilitation Center, Chambersburg
  • Paramount Senior Living at Chambersburg, Fayetteville
  • Shippensburg Health Care Center, Shippensburg
  • South Mountain Restoration Center, South Mountain


  • Services to Veterans
  • Hospice Care Service
  • Franklin County Courthouse, Chambersburg (visit with victims and witnesses)
  • Women in Need, Chambersburg (women’s shelter)
  • WellsSpan Radiation Oncology (visit with patients and family in the waiting room)
  • Over the Rainbow Children’s Advocacy Center
  • Chambersburg WellSpan Hospital Stroke Survivors


  • Applefest 
  • Furry Fun Day 
  • Autism Awareness Fair 
  • OSI Picnic 
  • Hagerstown Community College 
  • Fairview Elementary School Academic Night R.E.A.D.S., Waynesboro
  • Franklin County Bar Association Young Lawyers Day
  • Shippensburg Wellness Fair 
  • Chambersburg Christmas Parade 
  • Community Safety Fair 
  • Penn National Pen Pals 
  • Fido’s First Friday 
  • Shippensburg University Athletes Mental Health Week
  • Pre-K Waynesboro High School Early Childhood Center 
  • Home at Ship (Shippensburg University)