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Meet Theo: Furry friend for Elevate Kids

Elevate Branson, located at 310 Gretna Rd. just off the Hwy. 76 strip in Branson, is known by many people around the area as a great community resource, offering their area neighbors a hand up or a second chance by way of job training, food, affordable transportation and much more. The Elevate Kids program provides summer and after-school activities, including a sensory room as well as a new natural playground being incorporated into the property. And there’s also . . . Theo!

 



Anyone who has visited Elevate Branson to receive services, participate in programs, or volunteer, is likely familiar with Theo, Elevate Branson’s official on-site therapy dog. Those who have met Theo know he is a pro at making kids smile and helping adults relax; he even takes those skills with him when he’s out in the community for activities such as the pet parade at the Hollister Grape Fest, where his Chiefs jersey was a popular entry.

 

What not everyone knows, though, is that Theo has his own second-chance story. He is a rescue, found in the Mark Twain Forest by Rescue One out of Springfield, Missouri. Theo is somewhere around six to eight years old, and has been at Elevate for the past three and one-half years. He stays with CEO Bryan and Amy Stallings during nights and weekends, and comes to work each day.

 

“Theo loves people, especially kids,” said Elevate Kids director Cathy Brown. “When children are in the building, Theo is with them, providing calmness and love, especially in the sensory room. He also helps to promote improvement in human social, physical and emotional functions in group or individual settings.”

 

Brown shared that the kids quickly learn to love Theo. As an example, one afternoon, a young girl was having issues in getting along with her peers. Very upset, she crawled under a table, where Theo saw her and joined her, moving to lie down beside her with his head on her chest. After a couple of minutes of his calming presence, the child was back playing. Two other children, sisters new to the program, were initially afraid of Theo’s size but in less than a week were asking for him to join them in the sensory room.

 

To give community partners the opportunity to participate in Theo’s valuable service to kids and adults alike, Elevate Branson recently established Theo’s Heroes. For $250, an individual or group can become a Theo’s Hero, helping keeping him happy and healthy by providing food, GPS tracking, veterinary care, flea, tick, and heartworm treatments, and delicious treats. When you become one of Theo's Heroes, you can get your photo taken with Theo and hung on the wall for others to see. You also get your very own Theo plush animal.

 

Theo has his own page on the Elevate Branson website, https://elevatebranson.org/theo/, where you can learn more about the Heroes program and even download some fun coloring pages.

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