Faces in the Crowd is a community spotlight, profiling people who are doing interesting and/or meaningful things in the Black Hills area.

Faces in the Crowd: Carol Bailey

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    For the 8th year, South Dakota will take center state at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City Thursday. The float, titled “Mt. Rushmore, American Pride,” will feature an oversized replica of Mt. Rushmore, along with appearances by the Mt. Rushmore mascots, and R&B singer Smokey Robinson. The float promotes South Dakota tourism and will be seen by more than 50 million people, on television and in person, nationwide.

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    Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and this year’s holiday travel will be the busiest in 12 years. AAA is anticipating that nearly 51 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles from home for the Thanksgiving holiday. That's a 3.3 percent increase over last year. All modes of transportation, including car, bus, plane, and train will see increases in passengers. Many will see long lines, traffic jams, and delays that may disrupt their plans.

  • Dry Creek Fire contained at 291 acres

    Dry Creek Fire contained at 291 acres

    The latest on a grass fire burning between Hermosa and Fairburn, S.D., called the Dry Creek Fire.

    The latest on a grass fire burning between Hermosa and Fairburn, S.D., called the Dry Creek Fire.

RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Carol Bailey has always owned dogs, but it wasn't until she saw her sister's therapy dog work with children in the hospital that her love rose to a new level.

This love, combined with Carol’s background in mental health, inspired her to start a career in pet therapy.

The journey began with finding the right dog. Her neighbor suggested a standard poodle, Ange, who was being raised by a breeder. The 8-year-old poodle was supposed to be a service dog for a disabled child, but that opportunity fell through.

So, Carol adopted Ange and took her through the Pet Partners Program, the largest nonprofit organization registering therapy dogs and other pets.

The purpose of Pet Partners is to improve human health and well-being through the human-animal bond. Here’s how they work:

First, the dog must pass a health screening and an AKC Good Citizen test, emphasizing the importance of good manners. Then, handlers take an online course and test. Finally, a Pet Partners representative evaluates the handler/dog team on performance in various therapy scenarios

Ange passed with flying colors, and ever since, she's been helping people in the community, including at juvenile detention and Black Hills Works - an organization that supports people with disabilities.  

Carol offers Ange’s help for free. She says it's the warmth of the smile on the client’s face and their improved outlook that makes the volunteering all worthwhile.

"It's very rewarding because you can see the joy that she's bringing, and you can see the changes in people," she said. "There are some people at Black Hills Works that are more on the autistic side, who you can see social changes in them. It's very rewarding and it's fun too. I love going there; so does Ange."

The animal-human bond is often unspoken; a simple touch can speak volumes.

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