We Are UGI: Pawsitive Hearts Pet Therapy and Rescue
23 Jan 2024
UGI Utilities is proud of our employees’ dedication to the communities in which they live and work. Many UGI Utilities employees spend their time outside of work volunteering with nonprofit groups. Kathy Iglar is one of those employees, through her role as the Founder and Executive Director of Pawsitive Hearts Pet Therapy and Rescue, Inc.
Outside of her role at UGI Utilities, Kathy dedicates over 25 hours a week to her work with Pawsitive Hearts. In addition to her 3 dogs and 4 cats, Kathy also fosters rescues looking for a new home, including a mini-poodle named Ziggy who, according to Kathy, will probably become a foster fail. Needless to say, Kathy is an animal lover. “From the time I was about 5 years old, I wanted to save animals. As I aged, that transitioned into running a nonprofit focused on animals,” Kathy says. With the help of Kathy’s best friend, Lori Pepper, who is also a UGI employee, Pawsitive Hearts was born in January 2020. Lori continues to be involved with Pawsitive Hearts through her role as the President of the organization’s Board of Directors.
Pawsitive Hearts has saved over 600 cats and 10 dogs since its inception. “There are a huge number of animals that need help – and that number seems to be growing due to the recent economic challenges. Shelters and rescues are overflowing with homeless pets,” Kathy shares. “Many people acquired pets during COVID and now that life is busier, they find there’s no time for them.”
In addition to rescuing animals, Pawsitive Hearts also provides therapy services to schools, hospitals, and nursing homes. Pet therapy benefits people of all ages by improving fine motor skills and balance; increasing focus, attention, and self-esteem; and reducing anxiety, grief, isolation, blood pressure, depression, and risk of heart attack or stroke.
“The smiles that appear on people’s faces when you walk in with a dog are priceless! We had one autistic child that was extremely non-verbal actually take a therapy dog from class to class and talk to the class to provide information about the dog. We have had senior citizens who didn’t want to do physical therapy walk to a dog or reach out to pet a dog,” Kathy explains. “Some of our therapy teams attend sessions with the Children’s Alliance Center at Berks County Courthouse – this is for children that need to testify as the result of being witness to, or directly involved with, a crime. The presence of the dog settles the child and provides a calming influence.”
Thank you to Kathy and Lori for their efforts to help those in need and make their community a better place.
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