Link to Youtube video of Annalisa Smithson explaining what is animal a

About Me

Let's Get Aquainted

I am a helper.

A healer.

An avid reader.

An adventurer. 

A public speaker.

A lover of critters and humans alike. 

Yes I'm a cat person. I'm a doggo person too.

Mostly I'm a Benji person.

I'm also a devoted parent and partner, but my family is resigned to my obsession with the dog. (They're a bit obsessed too--he's really such a good dog.)


I spent 10 years working in the nonprofit industry after completing a master's degree in anthropology. I traveled the world, met brilliant people, and became quite homesick. So I came home. I earned another degree, this time in counseling.  I worked hard to integrate my "anthropological lens" into my therapeutic work. It's important that my interactions with clients are sensitive to the cultural nuances of their lives. When I say "culture" I'm talking about our experiences doing drugs, going to church, dealing with racism, coming out of the closet, and basically everything else related to our identities. 


Back to Benji. He's my therapy assistant and is heckin good at his job. He helps by playing, snuggling, going for walks, and even learning new tricks with clients. His unconditional love and calm demeanor, as well as occasional bursts of puppy energy, bring a lightness and joy into the therapy room. He reminds us (me AND my clients) to be kind to ourselves. He helps us believe that we deserve such kindness. Therapy is simply better with dogs. Life is better with dogs. 


Learn more about Animal-Assisted Therapy in this short introductory video. Don't forget to like and share it!

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