We are a Florida non-profit, volunteer-based organization of dedicated therapy dog handlers and their dogs on a mission of sharing kindness, comfort and love. We have therapy teams that visit special needs centers, nursing homes and many other facilities. Our objective is to form a network of caring individuals who are willing to share their special dogs to bring happiness and cheer to people, young and old alike.
DJ Gwilt and Lincoln
DJ is co-founder of Caring K9s and serves on the board of directors. She has been a Certified Dog Trainer since 2015, and is the trainer for Caring K9s.
Lincoln is a Golden Retriever and was born on December 10, 2014. He has been working as a certified therapy dog since May 2016. Lincoln is also recognized by the AKC with the Therapy Dog Excellent title. He loves swimming in the pool, but hates taking a bath. His true obsession is tennis balls that squeak. He enjoys doing tricks for people like shake, rollover and speak. Lincoln enjoys spending family time at home and playing with his canine brother and sister.
Tina Stockton and Chloe
Tina is co-founder of Caring K9s and serves on the board of directors.
Chloe is a Standard Poodle and was born on May 29, 2015. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since July 2016. Chloe is also recognized by the AKC with the Therapy Dog Advanced title. She loves spending time with her family, playing fetch with her ball and chasing squirrels. Chloe loves to give kisses and show off her favorite trick, shake!
Lorie Heisner and Mabel
Lorie is co-founder of Caring K9s and serves on the board of directors.
Mabel is a Goldendoodle and was born on May 15, 2014. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since May 2016. Mable is also recognized by the AKC with the Therapy Dog Excellent title. She looks forward to walks in the park, chasing lizards and playing with her green ball. Most of all, she loves being around family.
Karen Russell and Shelby
Karen is retired special education teacher from Michigan.
Shelby is a Goldendoodle and was born on May 7, 2015. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since November 2017. Shelby loves people, treats, long walks and playing with her canine brother.
Valerie Morrison and Kosby
Valerie is a seasonal member from Montrose, Pennsylvania.
Kosby is a Shih Tzu and was born on November 18, 2012. He has been working as a certified therapy dog since March 2017. Kosby loves to play fetch with stuffed toys and hates to have his toenails trimmed.
Barb VanWinkle and Spot
Barb is retired from Orthopedic Surgery.
Spot is a rescued Cattle Dog Mix. Her birthday is September 10, 2007. She has been working as certified therapy dog since June 2018. Spot loves herding the horses and cows on her ranch home, but her favorite thing to do is nap.
Sue Hyatt and Curie
Sue is a retired Respiratory Therapist.
Curie is a Siberian Husky and was born on December 31, 2013 in Mississippi. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since April 2018. Curie loves doing agility drills, sleeping in the sun and staying out of the snow.
Jim Engard and Chief
Jim is a retired Product Support Manager from a large construction equipment company.
Chief is a Golden Retriever and was born on January 19, 2016. He has been working as a certified therapy dog since February 2019. Chief loves boat rides, swimming and spending time with his family.
Joy Mullen and Maggie
Joy is semi-retired and works at a local real estate office.
Maggie is a recused Affenpinscher. Her birthday is September 22. 2010. Maggie has been working as a certified therapy dog since March 2019. She loves to snuggle, watch tv and take long walks.
Paula Gaustad and Gracie
Paula works for a local internet provider.
Gracie is an Australian Labradoodle and was born on April 14, 2017. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since March 2019. Gracie loves her stuffed animals, treats and playing catch.
Dave Morana and Macy
Dave is retired and serves on the board of directors.
Macy is a Labrador Retriever and was born on January 25, 2018. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since May 2019. Macy loves to swim in the pool, fetch balls, squeaky toys and playing with her canine sister.
Rick and Dee Lacy and Dixie
Rick and Dee are retired and are seasonal members from New Jersey.
Dixie is a Border Collie and was born on April 7, 2018 in Mississippi. She has been working as a certified therapy dog since April 2019. Dixie loves everyone especially children.
Linda Rooney and Tanner
Linda is a seasonal member from Spotsylvania, Virginia.
Tanner is a Golden Retriever and was born on December 31, 2016. He has been working as a certified therapy dog since April 2019. Tanner loves playing outside with kids and other dogs, especially his sister. He loves jumping in the pond at the dog park and chasing balls.
Would you like to join our team?
Becoming a member of our team is easy, but there are a few requirements. The most important necessity is that your dog must love people and get along with other dogs.
All Caring K9s therapy dog teams go to weekly training classes to prepare dogs and handlers on becoming a therapy team and to learn skills in order to pass the required tests.
Below is a list of other requirements to get you and your dog certified as a therapy dog team. (All requirements are subject to change without notice)
Dog must be 1 year or older to be certified
Dog must be current on all vaccinations required by Caring K9s Inc.
Sign all documents and pay all fees required by Caring K9s, Inc.
Dog must pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) and the AKC Community Canine (CGCA) Tests.
You and your dog must pass 5 supervised visits to various facilities.
If you you and your dog would like to learn more about being a part of Caring K9s, please feel free to contact us.
Our success as a therapy dog organization is the result of many hardworking, talented and dedicated individuals who enjoy sharing their therapy dogs with others. But, it is because of our generous sponsors that we can make this all happen.
We truly thank those people and organizations that support us through their monetary giving and help us reach out to our communities, sharing kindness, comfort, and love because of your helping hearts.
Laura Lee Ritchie
John T Torrence Jr and Linda Sue Cork
Charles Kelly - SellState Next Generation Realty
Curtis and Debra Stockton
Hernando Quilters Guild
Dawn and Randy Peacock
Hernando County Shriners and Masons
Citrus County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller Employees