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


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

MADISON - Many businesses in the northwoods rely on money from visitors.

Last year, tourists spent nearly $12 billion in Wisconsin.

That's according to a report the state Department of Tourism released today.

It found tourism spending went up about $500 million from 2014.

Last year marked the sixth straight year of increasing spending.

Visitor spending last year generated $19.3 billion in total sales as travelers' money moved through the state economy.

The spending generated $1.5 billion in state and local taxes.

The third quarter of 2015 saw the most spending.

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WESTON - A new health clinic in Weston hopes to help women with different health issues.

The Couri and Smyth Health for Life Medical Center had its ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday. The clinic is led by two doctors, Dr. Kimberly Couri and Dr. R. Louise Smyth, who specialize in helping with women's health issues.

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ANTIGO - Police Chief Eric Roller keeps his emotions pretty well in check.  But as the Antigo Police Department break room fills with food and thank-you cards, Roller cracks—just a bit.

"Seeing that and seeing all the responses on Facebook, I mean, that's the part that chokes you up," Roller said in his office Thursday afternoon.

Just five days earlier, essentially the entire Antigo police force (and many other departments across northern Wisconsin) scrambled to stop a teenager from killing anyone at the high school's prom.  Two party-goers were hurt, and the 18-year-old shooter, Jakob Wagner, was killed, but thanks to officers Andy Hopfensperger and Ryan Bula already at the scene, the threat ended there.  Hopfensperger shot Wagner "multiple times,"according to court documents released earlier this week.

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WISCONSIN RAPIDS - Wisconsin Rapids Police expect to release the three names from Wednesday's double-murder suicide soon. The department is waiting for today's autopsies to be finished before releasing those names.

Officers search the Wisconsin Rapids home Wednesday morning and found three bodies.

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EAGLE RIVER - After what happened last weekend at Antigo High School's prom, many people can't help but think about increased security measures at other schools. But Northland Pines High School wants teens to think about other issues before their prom on Saturday.

Tri-County Council was at Northland Pines Thursday talking about dating violence. They want kids to be respectful of each other and have fun this weekend.

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What We're Working OnSubmitted: 04/28/2016

- The city of Phillips needs to decide whether or not to loan $3 million to a company that wants to buy Georgia-Pacific, a plant that closed down leaving 50 people without a job. We'll have the details on Newswatch 12 at 5 and 6, and we'll update you on tonight's meeting discussing the loan at 10.

We'll have the details on this story and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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MADISON - Wisconsin's Department of Justice is creating a new bureau to handle officer-involved deaths and other sensitive investigations.

Attorney General Brad Schimel announced the new Bureau of Special Investigations Thursday. In a statement, he said the new bureau will play an important role in maintaining the transparency and thoroughness in officer-involved deaths the public deserves.

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