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SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club

2022-2023 is our 5th school year as an official club at Barrington High School!

Thank you to Dr. Heath McFaul for being our club sponsor and to the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program for mentoring this wonderful club!

MEETING DAYS/TIMES: Every Thursday after School (except school days off; no summer meetings)

WHO CAN JOIN: All BHS students are welcome!



1st Thursday of the month: VISIT 4-5pm at a Barrington community location TBD (check here for updates!)

  • 4/6/23 The Garlands of Barrington 1000 Garlands Lane, Barrington

2nd and 4th Thursday of the month: 3:30-4:45pm at BHS (therapy dogs) near The Commons  *students should meet SOUL Harbour Ranch volunteers and therapy animals in the Main Street parking lot after school, then enter the lower level Main Street entrance

3rd (and 5th) Thursday of the month: 3:45-5pm at SOUL Harbour Ranch, 22093 N. Countryside Lane, Barrington IL.


The SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program teams with Barrington High School for the SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club.  The Club allows teens from Barrington High School to take part in fulfilling the mission of enriching lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond.

BHS students are teamed with mentors and animals from the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program. Students learn how to become animal handlers for animal-assisted activities and therapy work. We believe whole-heartedly that involvement with our special animals and each other assists in the students’ futures as leaders in our community.


The SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club has the following goals:

  • Preparing BHS students for future animal-handling and leadership roles within their school, community and future professional opportunities. 

  • Instilling a sense of pride and ownership through volunteering with our animal-assisted therapy program as well as collaboration, responsibility and teamwork.

  • Creating a sense of motivation to succeed while teaching the importance of personal drive and determination for a successful future through working with specially-trained therapy animals. 

  • Teaching invaluable skills that are necessary for today’s workforce such as interpersonal skills, the importance of rules and regulations, personal responsibility, respect for others, customer service and a sense of pride in one’s work. 

  • Fostering animal stewardship by demonstrating the highest quality treatment and respect toward all animals. 

  • To enrich students’ lives by promoting the unconditional love and healing of the human-animal bond.

  • To provide opportunities for students to grow as future leaders by training and working with our volunteers throughout the year.

  • To prepare students to become registered animal-assisted therapy handlers through Pet Partners with our animals or their animals (animals belonging to students MUST be registered through Pet Partners to be a part of our club)



  • We host weekly training and/or visit sessions every Thursday after school (see schedule above). Training and visits will vary for location, including locations at Barrington High School, SOUL Harbour Ranch in Barrington and local community locations such as The Garlands, Sunrise of Barrington, Journeycare, Barrington Youth & Family Services, and others TBD.

  •  Interested volunteers are required to commit to a minimum of two days per month during the school year.

  • Within the first 6 months of working with our animals, we recommend that students complete the Pet Partners Handler course (, with plans to test and become a registered therapy animal handler. We realize the busy schedules teens carry during their high school years and we do allow for flexibility while enforcing the required commitments. 

  • Students must be willing to commit to twice per month/one-semester minimums.

  • The SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club allows students to earn community service hours (*once they have completed the full semester commitment) that meet school requirements while learning how to professionally interact with volunteers and those we visit.

  • We do not meet during the summer, but SOUL Buddies who have already trained with us are welcome to join the SOUL Harbour Ranch Animal Therapy Program at visits and training. 

Interested in joining our SOUL team? Please send us an email with your name, address, phone number and why you would like to be a part of the SOUL Buddies Animal Therapy Club.  Then join us on Thursdays after school in the hallways next to the Commons Area for some SOUL time with our special animals: “Sharing of Unconditional Love.”

Please contact Jodie Diegel at 855-408-7685 if you have additional questions or email

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