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Traveling pet therapy ministry aims to put smiles on faces

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 9:24 PM CDT
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FORT STOCKTON, Texas (KOSA) - For many people, the loss of a loved one awakens a calling.

Jay Hamm is one of those people.

He’s in Ft. Stockton on Monday because of his sister’s battle with cancer in 2015.

“Just before she passed, my dog Chibby Choo climbed up on her bed all on his own and layed down and comforted her,” Hamm recalled. “So, I kinda looked to the heavens and said, ‘OK, I know what I need to do with this dog.’”

So he created Paws for Compassion, a traveling pet therapy ministry with a simple mission.

“We put smiles on faces and joy in hearts,” Hamm said.

He also puts in the miles. Starting from Florida, Hamm is on a journey to help people across the United States. His mission: help the homeless. But it’s his dogs Chibby Choo and K-Poppy who are the stars.

“The dogs are instrumental in helping people, whether they’re sad, or happy, or whatever,” Hamm said. “But they’re instrumental in bringing people alive.”

Ft. Stockton is sandwiched between stops in Beaumont and Tempe, Arizona. Unlike his larger stops, Hamm wasn’t able to find people to help in the numbers he expected, but that didn’t stop him from looking; it certainly won’t discourage him from helping people in his sister’s memory.

“What would she think of it? She’s smiling down,” he said. “This is what she wanted to do. She loved to help people.”

And so, Hamm will move westward with even bigger goals in mind: a journey spanning 800-thousand miles over 16 years, inspired by those he’s lost.

“We’re just blessed that we can continue this in their honor and memory.”

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