Pet Therapy, commonly known as Animal Assisted Therapy, is a growing source of therapy where animals help people just by visiting with them. Imagine living your entire life with a beloved pet only to be made to give it up upon entering a retirement home. Or imagine being separated from your pet while being hospitalized and undergoing medical treatment for long periods of time. PAWS Therapy enriches these times by providing monthly visits to residents giving them the opportunity to simply hug, hold, or pet an animal.
In addition to retirement home and hospital visits, PAWS Therapy offers Pet Responsibility Education to children at local schools and public libraries. Our PAWS 4 Reading program aides children with reading disabilities by giving them someone to read to without any judgment toward their ability.
What is the difference between Service Dogs and Therapy Dogs?
Service dogs are legally defined (Americans With Disabilities Act, 1990) and are trained to meet the disability-related needs of their handlers who have disabilities. Federal laws protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to be accompanied by their service animals in public places. Service dogs are not considered "pets."
Therapy dogs are not legally defined by federal law, but some states have laws defining therapy animals. They provide people with contact to animals, but are not limited to working with people who have disabilites. They are usually the personal pets of their handlers, and work with their handlers to provide services to others. Federal laws have no provisions for people to be accompanied by therapy animals in places of public accomodation that have "no pets" policies. Therapy animals usually are not service animals.
All of our PAWS Therapy teams consist of local volunteers and their personal pets. All animals have undergone strict personality screening, obedience training, and are certified by Therapy Dogs International or Delta Society. To become a PAWS Therapy team, it is a requirement your animal be certified by one of the national pet therapy organizations. Contact us today! We'll help you get certified so you can brighten lives with your companion animal.