WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Animals can provide companionship, love, and therapy. Love on a Leash is spreading that message one visit at a time.

“Ava likes to hold hands. You wanna hold her hand?” Judi Adams, a volunteer with Love on a Leash, asked a little girl during a recent visit to the Andover Public Library. Ava is a golden retriever who loves kids.

For two years, Adams has shared her dog Ava through Love on a Leash.

“We love it. It’s just an awesome opportunity to volunteer, and for me to be with her and for her to be around other people, it’s so much fun,” Adams said.

The visits are also therapeutic.

“I see some special ed friends, and some of them interact more with the dogs than they do with people, and it is really cool to see,” Adams said.

The national pet therapy group has been in Kansas for seven years. The nonprofit certifies owners and their pets to be therapy teams.

“We visit nursing homes, schools, parks, and just huge events,” said Michelle Machado, Love on a Leash’s visit captain. “We know that our dogs are meant to be just more than our pets.”

Every visit, people pet, read, or simply love on the furry friends.

“I go visit hospice patients, and I’ve seen a non-responsive patient. I see them pet the dog or smile, and they know the dogs there,” said Leah Donley, chapter leader.

Man’s best friend brings healing and happiness.

“We do make a difference. I see that all the time that we do make a difference,” Donley said.

The Kansas chapter has over 100 members. While they’re all dogs, Love on a Leash also accepts cats and rabbits.