4-H four leaf clover logoBest Friends patch with paw and hand

Best Friends 4-H Club

About, Tributes, and Articles

Motto: "If the map and the terrain do not agree, believe the terrain." -- Charles W. Chaillet, Jr.

4-H'ers   *   Volunteer Leaders   *   Team Canines   *   Contact Us

About   *   Calendar   *   Registration   *  Homework    *   Fair   *   Resources/References

Watch our video, PAWS-ATIVE THERAPY   *   Follow us on Facebook


Young man and brown labrador retriever       Welcome to Best Friends 4-H Club, in Berrien County, Michigan, an inclusive 4-H canine project club, designed to assist our Nontraditional (member with a life disability) and our Traditional 4-H'ers in learning about the many aspects of canine handling, including dog training, ownership responsibility and competitions.

       The idea for a dog science club serving Nontraditional 4-H'ers through a partnership among 4-H'ers, volunteer leaders, canines, and 4-H parents was realized in 1988 by Patti Dynes and her son, David, after an exhaustive -- and fruitless -- search for a dog training club that could accommodate a student with Down's Syndrome. Over the years, the Best Friends 4-H Club role has expanded to encompass the therapy benefits of training and competing with a canine for our youths with life disabilities while also teaching the every day responsibility of dog ownership and competing with their canines for our 4-H'ers without life disabilities. Our 4-H'ers, nontraditional and traditional alike, benefit greatly from the canine lessons, socialization and competitions at the Berrien County Youth Fair -- and have a lot of fun doing it!

       We are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) as the ONLY CANINE THERAPY DOG COMPETITION 4-H CLUB IN THE UNITED STATES! This means that not only are our our 4-H'ers given the opportunity to enjoy the sport of dog competitions in Dog Obedience, Rally, Agility, and Jr. Showmanship, but our club's canine members are also eligible for their Canine Therapy Dog Titles!

       The links above will take you to information about our Club members, our leaders, our dogs, and our program. Below, you can find recognition and awards won by Best Friends 4-H Club, as well as links to articles and a video detailing more about the impact Best Friends 4-H has had on everyone involved.

Awards/Resolutions/Tributes   *   Articles





  • Young girl with walker, adult, dog on teeter boardIn 2002, Best Friends 4-H Club's members and leaders had a very strong ethical ownership responsibility regarding canines and the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Program. Each member wrote and petitioned the Michigan House of Representatives for a Resolution regarding 4-H and the American Kennel Club's Canine Good Citizen Program. In June of 2002, Best Friends 4-H Club received the STATE OF MICHIGAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVE; HOUSE RESOLUTION # 487.

  • Berrien County, Michigan Resolution B1305120, 2013: "Now, therefore, be it hereby resolved that the Berrien County Board of Commissioners recognizes the Best Friends 4-H Club for their success in offering a true 4-H experience to disabled youth in the canine project. Be it further resolved that the mission of the Best Friends 4-H Club parallels that of the Berrien County mission to improve the quality of life for present and future generations." (Read the entire resolution here.)

  • In 2012 Best Friends 4-H Club Leaders received the Berrien RESA (Regional Education Service Agency) 2012 Partnership in Education Award. This award was given to Best Friends 4-H Club leaders for developing, initiating and implementing a Canine Therapy Program in which our 4-H leaders and their own canine(s) voluntarily enter Blossomland Learning Center in Berrien Springs, Michigan, and team up on a one-on-one with a special education student, teaching and encouraging the student to handle the volunteer team canine in obedience, agility and rally lessons. The best part are the rewards of the smiles and attempted interaction with the volunteer canines from the students.

  • In 2013, The State of Michigan gave Best Friends 4-H Club a "Special Tribute ... Therefore, this document is signed and dedicated to congratulate the Best Friends 4-H Club on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary. May their many good deeds continue to enrich Berrien County for many years to come." (Read entire tribute here.)





       Throughout the years Best Friends has been a 4-H Club, several articles have been written about our canine therapy program, our success at Berrien County Youth Fair and the commitment or our 4-H Leaders, Team Instructors and our volunteer Team Canines.


Young man in wheelchair, three adults, little white dog

"Hands and Paws together always in friendship and teamwork." -- L.M. Shannon-Chaillet


*   ~   *   ~   *   ~   *   ~   *   ~   *

Home   *   4-H'ers   *   Volunteer Leaders   *   Dogs   *   Calendar   *   Registration   *  Homework    *   Fair   *   Contact Us
About   *   Articles   *   Club Awards   *   Field Trip   *   Mariah Award   *   Resources/References
Watch our video, PAWS-ATIVE THERAPY   *   Follow us on Facebook


Copyright 2022, Best Friends 4-H Club. All Rights Reserved.
Photos © Copyright 2022, Pat Crean & Best Friends 4-H Club. All Rights Reserved. Used with permission.
Website Design by Michelle E. Crean, Hook and Web Designs. Problems? Please contact design@crean.com