FORT SMITH — With deep sorrow and immense gratitude, the Arkansas Colleges of Health Education (ACHE) and the School of Occupational Therapy is honoring the life and legacy of Nibs, our beloved facility dog and cherished team member. Nibs leaves behind a legacy of compassion, joy, and invaluable service to all who had the privilege of knowing her. She touched countless lives with her gentle spirit, unwavering dedication, and love of carrots.

Nibs was a graduate of Canine Companions, an organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained service dogs at no charge to the participant. Identified early on for her remarkable abilities, Nibs was destined to support clients in occupational, physical, and speech therapy. While Nibs has worked alongside many therapists, it was always under the direction of Dr. Tracey Zeiner, who Nibs was matched with during training, who has cared for, trained, served alongside, advocated for, adopted, and loved.

A true pioneer, Nibs played a pivotal role in introducing the concept of facility dogs to campuses like Arkansas Colleges of Health Education. Beyond her official duties, she became an ambassador of empathy and kindness, teaching students and staff alike the profound therapeutic value of our furry friends. Her intuitive nature seemed to understand the unspoken needs of those around her. When Nibs was by your side, tension eased, fears lessened, and moments of joy and laughter became more abundant.

Nibs was not just a skilled professional; Nibs was a character! She always wore a collar with a flower or a scarf to match Dr. Zeiner and would put on hats, glasses, etc. to celebrate an occasion. On rainy days, the OT faculty loved the raincoat that Dr. Zeiner put on Nibs so she would not only look pretty, but not get wet and smell when she came into the building to greet everyone.

The morning greetings were the best as Nibs ran down the hallway, wagged her tail, and gave a big stretch as if she was showing off her beauty!  She was often seen flirting with a certain ACHE Officer to get a carrot, pushing her way into faculty and staff offices to see if they had any leftovers from lunch, heard snoring during department meetings, laying on the feet of faculty/staff who were stressed, and ignoring faculty and staff when she saw a student – Nibs always knew the students were her priority!

Her passing has deeply affected the entire ACHE community. Countless people from the ACHE campus came by to say thank you, share memories, and give her one more rub behind her ears. The faculty, staff, and students from ACHE thank Dr. Zeiner for providing us with the opportunity to pay our respects to our colleague and beloved team member.

Nibs, your life was a testament to service and unconditional love. You touched countless lives, leaving paw prints on our hearts and memories.