Team Kathy & Keiko


I’m Kathy and my Pet Partner is Keiko.  I adopted Keiko from a local rescue group when she was a wee small pup. She is a large Havanese, weighing in at about 20 pounds.

For many years I wanted a dog that was suitable to be a therapy dog. Keiko seemed to have the right temperament, so as soon as she was old enough we started obedience training.  Then, she received her Canine Good Citizen award.  We started working toward being a Pet Partner team, and it took about 1-1/2 years to get everything down good enough to pass the evaluation.  Since then it’s been smooth sailing! She has been a registered therapy dog for 10 years!  I’m very proud of her!

Keiko has been to a summer camp in the North Carolina Mountains for handicapped children, adults, and their families.  She interacted with lots of folks in mechanized wheelchairs.  She sat on the lap of a paraplegic who just beamed!

Keiko has been used at a local children’s hospital to help kids who had been mauled by a dog or pack of dogs.The kids chose Keiko from a group of therapy dog photos and she was introduced to them as a very friendly lovable, pet-able dog. They were able to recognize that not all dogs are bad. One little girl said, as she was petting Keiko with her head swathed in bandages, that she wanted to be a veterinarian. It touched my heart to know Keiko had reversed that little girl’s impressions of dogs.

Keiko is a busy working girl!  She visits South Carolina Oncology Associates weekly.  One of the employees gets down on the floor and gives her a massage every time we visit.  At that facility we visit doctors’ waiting rooms, infusion rooms, administrative areas (the staff need therapy too), and the imaging department.

Keiko taught herself to line up next to patient chairs so they can reach down and pet her easily. She also gets weighed at every scale we pass; the only girl I know who likes to get weighed!

We visit at Richland Springs, which is a psychiatric unit, where the patients sit in a circle and she ‘works the circle’.  She doesn’t want anyone to miss out on giving her attention.

Keiko smiles when her booty is being scratched just right, which makes everyone laugh (good medicine, you know).  She also flirts with the male patients and staff.

We visit Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital, and in the 2 hours we’re there we see staff, families and patients in imaging, the surgical waiting room, sub-acute rehab, pulmonary/cardiac unit, and a unit for long term patients.  Several times doctors at Baptist have prescribed Pet Therapy for individual patients and we’ve been happy to fill the script.

More Fun Things
Keiko enjoys chasing the ball and going for walks when she’s not working. But I have to say that her favorite activity is working, whether it’s at a medical facility or one time events such as schools and libraries. She gets so excited when I get out her work scarf and she realizes that she gets to go to work!

She taste-tests all the doggie cookies and treats that come out of my kitchen.  So far she hasn’t turned anything down, from doggie jello and liver treats to homemade frosty paws. You are welcome to download some of Keiko’s favorite recipes.

After being an only dog for 10 years, Keiko acquired a little adopted sister, Malainn.  She has adjusted well, and if there’s a good spot to sniff they’re on it together!

“Going to school in the medical profession is a very difficult process. Students must be able to bring classroom discussions to the clinical setting at the hospital and apply these skills directly to a patient. This component has the potential to be very stressful. Keiko’s visits to our radiology students at Palmetto Health Baptist are very important. For the time she and Kathy are there it allows the student to shift their focus to one of being comforted and “healed” versus providing that same attention to a patient. As educators we continually stress the importance of taking care of oneself and Keiko helps us to do that on her visits during the day.” Millie Massey, M. Ed., RT(R)(CV), Clinical Coordinator, Radiologic Technology Program, Midlands Technical College

Pet Therapy is a valuable treatment modality at Palmetto Health. The visits with the Pet Therapy volunteers provide unconditional love and acceptance for our patients. The visits also help to reduce some of the stress and anxiety of being in the hospital, as many of our patients have pets and miss their pets while in the hospital.Betsy Neal, Board Certified Music Therapist, Manager of Adjunctive Therapy, Palmetto Health

Registered with: Pet Partners Inc

Services: Pet Therapy Visits and Bite Prevention Programs

Availability: Daytimes (both weekdays and weekends)

Contact: Please contact me through the Contact Form on this website.


Kathy and Keiko
Kathy and Keiko

A patient took this portrait of Keiko

Doggy kisses
Who doesn’t like doggy kisses?

A healing touch of comfort
A healing touch of comfort

Flyball is so much fun!!!
Flyball is so much fun!!!

I am so good at this

Visiting a veteran
Visiting a veteran