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New Evaluator Brings MoreTherapy Dogs to the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 05/09/2013
Story By Kailey Burton

New Evaluator Brings MoreTherapy Dogs to the Northwoods
Photos By Kailey Burton

EAGLE RIVER - Sometimes the best medicine doesn't come from a doctor, but a good friend- or a furry friend. Research tells us therapy dogs can improve our mood, and our health.

"That's a natural therapy dog, wanting to give love... The dogs are certified because they love people and they love to give love," said Nicole Belmore, owner of Northern Wisconsin Canine Center, and a trained Evaluator for Therapy Dogs International.

The playful expression often on Dare's face brings joy to many nursing home patients. But he does even more; his friendly affection actually improves their health.

"Research has shown that it actually lowers blood pressure... Those who can't have pets anymore or even remember when they had a pet, it gets them up into bed a lot of them will get out of bed when they see the therapy dog, or they know a therapy dog is down the hallway, they want to come see the therapy dog. So it brings them a sense of joy," said Belmore.

Belmore sees a great need for more dogs like Dare in the Northwoods. However, the closest place to get certified WAS hundreds of miles away. Then Belmore became an evaluator in Eagle River. Now she can put your dog to the test.

"There are several tests we need to give. They need to sit on command, they need to lie down on command…They need to be able to walk on a loose leash," she said.

And then, they need to pass the biggest challenge of all....

"We have to have a bowl of food or a plate of food on the ground and the dog has to walk over the food without touching it."

Think your dog is up to the test? Belmore offers training classes and several certification tests each year.


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 IN OTHER NEWS

ANTIGO - Dogs, cats and sometimes a gerbil seem to be the norm for a family pet. But there's a man in Antigo that has a different kind of animal that he cares for.

His name is Jim Draeger and he loves deer.

"I had a shooting preserve at one time, but I got rid of it because I couldn't stand shooting the deer," said Draeger.

He's owned the BP gas station on Hwy 45 just north of Antigo for about 25 years. He wanted to mix his love of deer with his gas station.

"It's a great tourist attraction," said Draeger.

There are about a dozen deer in a fenced in area that is the head turner.

"I want to be sure and careful so that I don't lose my privileges and I follow the rules very carefully," said Draeger.

He's had pet deer for about 50 years and they've been at the gas station about 15 years. He knows how to keep them happy and healthy.

"[With] ground corn and some other nutrients. We have fresh water," said Draeger.

The deer are very calm. But there have been a couple times where people have tried to break in and take the deer.

"We've had that happen twice. But the deer came right back," said Draeger.

People are always visiting to see the animals. And Jim knows that point blank, they're great to watch and get to see close up.

"I don't think there's anybody that doesn't like deer. Even if they want to shoot it or whatever they want to do with them, that's their privilege, but everybody likes to see them," said Draeger.

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WOOD COUNTY - A motorcycle crash in Wood County Thursday night left the rider dead in a ditch.

About 10:30 p.m. Thursday, the Wood County Sheriff's Department got word a damaged motorcycle had been found lying on Lone Pine Road in the Town of Sigel.



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ANTIGO - A Langlade County family takes pride in the produce they grow, ship, and sell. Not only because it's fresh, but because the entire family takes a part in growing process.

Lindy Price basically grew up working inside her family's greenhouse.

"Growing up it was always really busy," said Price. "It was a lot of fun."

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LANGLADE COUNTY - When you go shopping for produce, you normally take a list and pull straight from the store shelf.

But at one Deerbrook farm, you buy a season's worth of vegetables without knowing what you'll get.

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ANTIGO - People going to the Langlade County Fair this week can expect to see hot dogs, fun houses and even horses.

One Antigo girl has made it her mission to show the world her horsemanship skills one gallop at a time.

Bailey Novy and her horse Stretch have a very unique bond.

"We decided to give him a fitting name," said Bailey.
Stretch is a very large quarter horse but that doesn't worry Bailey.

She has had some practice on being a handy horsemanship competitor.

"It's been in my family for three-generations," said Bailey.

Bailey took the reins from her mother and grandmother 7 years ago.

"Growing up around them has really led me to horsemanship," explained Bailey.

But 7 years of horsemanship hasn't always been an easy ride.

"It's a lot of commitment," said Bailey.

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WAUPACA COUNTY - Investigators believe the death of a Waupaca County boy was a tragic accident.

15 year old Jacob Peglow, of Waupaca, was shot by a 17 year old friend.

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RHINELANDER - News that his wife was cheating on him may have led a Waukesha man to light a van on fire, shoot off a gun, and trigger the Oneida County SWAT team near Pelican Lake last week.

Prosecutors filed formal charges against 51-year-old Richard Hitchcock in Oneida County Court on Thursday.

Hitchcock is accused of burning his van in the woods and firing three shots last Thursday. The Oneida County Sheriff's Office responded with its SWAT team, a drone, and canine units before arresting Hitchcock.

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