Therapy Dog Category Charity Partner
Hand in Paw improves human health and well-being through Animal-Assisted Therapy. Founded in 1996, we are a 501(c) 3 charitable organization serving north central Alabama. Hand in Paw’s philosophy is this: just as the best results come from the collaboration between two people working hand-in-hand–the most effective Animal-Assisted Therapy is conducted through the partnership between a handler (the hands) and the therapy animal (the paws). Whether encouraging a toddler in an early intervention center to take her first steps, showing unconditional love for a troubled teen in a group home, or comforting a senior in a palliative care unit, Hand in Paw’s professionally-trained handlers and their pets work together as Therapy Teams to change lives.
Hand in Paw’s innovative programs address a range of societal issues facing Alabama, working to combat illiteracy, prevent family and community violence, and strengthen the lives of people with special needs. Delivered in schools, libraries, and shelters, its Sit, Stay, Read! program helps struggling young readers overcome their fears by reading aloud to nonjudgmental therapy animals. Pawsitive Living follows a 12-week, evidence-based curriculum, developed by Hand in Paw, and teaches care giving, responsibility and empathy to adolescents residing in group homes. Alabama has the nation’s 6th highest rate of people with special healthcare needs, and the 5th highest rate among children. Hand in Paw’s Petscription program helps people with physical, mental, and cognitive challenges reach therapeutic goals and provides positive distraction from fear and pain.
Hand in Paw’s services are delivered free of charge in collaboration with more than 60 community partners. Its 120 Therapy Teams reach 60,000 people annually.