TWO RIVERS, Wis. (WFRV) – One of the longest-working therapy dogs in northeast Wisconsin is getting ready to celebrate her birthday.

Marley, the Shih Tzu, turns 14 and her handler is using the occasion to hold a fundraiser so he can continue training other dogs just like her.

Since she was a pup, Marley’s been part of a pack that travels to assisted living facilities, schools, and mental health centers.

It’s part of the non-profit called Sassu Enterprises Pet Therapy Services.

The founder, William Krause, says it’s much more meaningful when they can bring several dogs, sometimes as many as two dozen, on one visit. So everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the relaxation that comes from petting lap dogs.

Marley showed a natural aptitude for the work.

“She became really well-seasoned within a year,” Krause tells Local 5 News. “She was my fastest training Shih Tzu all the way around. And it’s her behavior that the rest of the dogs follow. If it wasn’t for her we’d probably be at a standstill.”

Local 5 has featured Sassu Pet Enterprises before as part of our “Positively Wisconsin” series. Since that time Sassu Enterprises has taken in several rescue dogs and they have plans to build a larger training facility so they could have multiple packs out during the day.

We caught up with them Monday during a visit at Northland Lodge Assisted Living in Two Rivers where Krause was excited about the Packer Alumni who will take part in the August 7th Birthday Party and Fundraiser at The Dog Huse Bar at 228 North Main Street in Fond du Lac.

Packers Alumni Chris Jackie will sign autographs from 3-5 p.m.

George Koonce will also have an autograph session from 5-7 p.m.

For $20 you can bring two items for autographs.

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There will also be 50/50 raffles and food sales to help keep the pet therapy going.

Sassu the dog who was the first in the group is too old to keep going out. It serves as an example of why it’s important that they start training replacements when other dogs age out as well.