Animal-Assisted Therapy has been proven to reduce anxiety, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and improve heart and lung function. In addition to physiological benefits, contact with animals also instills a sense of purpose and fulfillment that can help prevent depression and loneliness.
Hand in Paw is a non-profit 501(c)(3) in Central Alabama with a mission to improve human health and well-being through Animal-Assisted Therapy. Founded in 1996 by Beth Franklin, Hand in Paw’s professionally trained therapy teams make 800,000 beneficial contacts each year through community events and participating facilities.
Hand in Paw’s highly trained volunteers and their animal partners form therapy teams who serve children and adults with physical, emotional, educational, or psychological needs. These dedicated teams address difficult issues such as abuse, disabilities, illiteracy, and chronic and terminal illness.
To increase the reach of their impact, Hand in Paw has developed a variety of innovative programs that benefit the local communities they serve.
- Pawsitive Living™ is an innovative 12-week program that teaches compassion and anger management to at-risk children and youth. The program concludes with successful participants contributing to the community by accompanying therapy teams to facilities serving people with special needs.
- No More Bullies! is a 6-week education program that helps children develop skills to solve problems in a loving, caring, and productive way and the courage to stand up for themselves and for those who are weaker.
- Petscription therapy teams facilitate interactions with professional staff, patients, and families to create a more relaxed environment resulting in a reduction of sedatives needed for procedures and reducing the time required to meet therapy goals.
- Trauma & Grief Response Program deploys therapy teams to provide emotional support and comfort to people in the aftermath of tragic events.
- Sit, Stay, Read! utilizes specially-trained therapy teams to create a non-threatening and positive environment for reluctant readers. Animals are great listeners!
- Wags at Work provide animal-assisted therapy visits to the workplace, offering workers much-needed comfort, motivation, and cheer. Animals in the workplace have been shown to reduce stress and boost employee satisfaction.
Hand in Paw recognizes that animals offer nonjudgmental, forgiving, and unconditional acceptance. Through Animal-Assisted Therapy, highly-trained therapy teams focus on helping people achieve a variety of goals including but not limited to:
- Empathy – Identify with and understand the feelings and motives of others.
- Nurturing – Promote growth and development
- Rapport – Build relationships of mutual trust or a feeling of connection or bonding.
- Acceptance – Favorable reception or approval
- Entertainment – Even people who don’t like animals often enjoy the antics and reactions of pets
- Socialization- Enjoying the company of others
You can learn more about Hand in Paw’s contributions to their community by visiting their Facebook page or by accompanying a therapy team (Scottie and Jackie) on a virtual visit to a children’s hospital (bring your tissues!).
Hand in Paw is funded entirely through the generosity of donors, grant monies, and proceeds from fundraising events. We hope you will partner with 4Knines to support the mission of Hand in Paw. There are many ways to help including making a one-time or recurring donation, becoming a volunteer, hosting a fundraiser, or even shopping on Amazon!