Loving Animals Providing Smiles (LAPS) began in the winter of 2001 through the vision of three individuals who shared a common interest in providing the Napa Valley community with quality animal-assisted therapy through stable, well-trained therapy teams.
LAPS began with a strong core of knowledge and hands-on experience. The founding members brought together more than 10 years of volunteer experience performing animal-assisted therapy with a variety of client populations, more than 15 years of professional pet training, as well as professional expertise in education and administration. LAPS became a 501(c)(3) public charity corporation in 2004.
In December, 2005, LAPS lost one of our founding members with the untimely death of Carolyn Lenzi. Long-time Napa residents, especially those in the school system, may remember Carolyn from her teaching career at Northwood and Alta Heights Elementary Schools.
LAPS is continuing Carolyn’s commitment to young people and honoring her memory by developing CAPERS (“Children and Pets Enjoy Reading Success”). This program allows LAPS teams who have completed additional specialized training to work one-on-one with children in schools and in after-school programs to improve the child’s reading skills. Carolyn’s love of learning was very apparent to all who knew her, and LAPS is honored to continue her vision with the CAPERS program.