Some of you from Doggie Dates NSW Ltd would heard of Paws Pet Therapy. Several of our members are involved with them and it is an amazing journey. We consider them to be our friends and like to support them.
Paws Pet Therapy is a charity which brings the love of dogs to people in need. Whether it is mental health facilities, schools, hospital settings, retirement homes, events or one to one visits, Paws can be there to brighten up a day for someone who is facing a challenging time.
I first volunteered with my three dogs in 2017 and since then I have attended so many places and met so many people, mostly with my dog Lucy who is a natural at “therapy.”
Joining Paws Pet Therapy is not difficult. You just need a dog of any size and breed that loves people and the rest is history. There is some training to overcome so that you are knowledgeable in how everything works and so that you can make sure your dog is ready and then you can join the paws family. When I joined, I knew I would make others smile but never realised how much I would smile. Volunteering with Paws is such an incredible experience as there is an opportunity to offer a little bit of joy. Watching people interact with your own dog is very rewarding.
I have many memorable moments in my Paws Journey so far. One of my favorite clients was a man in a group program. He could not walk or speak and most of the day he sat quite expressionless, but he loved just two things. Dancing, and Lucy. As soon as he spotted us as we walked into the building, his eyes light up and he would start making loud noises of excitement and wave his arms around. For Lucy initially, this was a little intimidating but with the help of a trainer I learned how to distract her while she was with him and he ended up being her favourite person at that program.
Another memorable moment was doing a visit during mental health week to a large city building. As the staff came down Lucy was mobbed and she loved it. She must have felt like a superstar. Lucy and I thrive on visiting schools. Lucy has made a real difference to some children who have been dealing with trauma and mental health issues. Often there have been very angry students who immediately calm in Lucy’s presence. I love hearing the students say, “you must be quiet, don’t scare Lucy’. Lucy has had her beautiful, coloured tail braided many times by young people and she sits compliantly.
Paws Pet Therapy has struggled in the last couple of years. When clients most needed them, they could not visit because of covid restrictions. Funding from many organisations has dried up and at times the staff at Paws Pet Therapy have had to take leave without pay.
Paws is currently offering free visits to some flood affected businesses, organisations and individuals in the community. We know that there are people out there who require the love of a dog and meeting emotional needs is just as important as meeting physical needs. Contact Paws for more information.
It is delightful that things are looking up and our dogs are getting to work again and the opportunity to create happiness.
If you think that Paws Pet Therapy is close to your heart, perhaps you would consider donating to them (donations of $2 or more are tax deductible) or give them a call to see if your dog would be suitable for their program. They operate statewide and are additionally starting to spread at a national level.
Paws Pet Therapy
Phone: 02 4681 0499
Mobile: 0418 869 181
Donations: Head over to their website to donate 🙂