|(Left to right) Humans: Barbara McKown, Carol Davis, Charli King, Luanne Good. Pups: Izzy, Stark, Ollie and Oscar|
All dogs (and I mean ALL of them) hold a special place in my heart, so while preparing for my San Diego visit back in December, I came across Paws'itive Teams; they were wonderful enough to spend a Saturday afternoon with me and share all about the team's programs, pups, and success stories. All while Max (who was SUCH a good sport, might I add) melted everyone's hearts.
|The sweetest (and furriest) companions anyone could ask for.|
Founded in 1997 by Carol Davis and Charli King (top image), Paws'itive Teams and their 60+ volunteers provide therapy dog/dog handler workshops, classes and educational outreach programs in San Diego County. One of their remarkable initiatives, which I'll highlight below, is their group of goal-directed therapy programs.
Paws'sitive Animal Assisted Therapy (PAAT) Goal-Directed Programs
- At-risk teens - Paws'itive Teams provides teens with 6-week dog handling training classes, building trust, responsibility, professional skills and fostering positive relationships with adults.
- Students with communication/learning challenges and medically-fragile students - Therapy dog teams work with speech specialists at a high school to help improve the students ability to communicate.
- Military Service Members - The teams work with active duty service members who have suffered traumatic injuries or PTSD to help them re-engage with society.
- Children testifying in court - Therapy dogs accompany victims to the witness stand and help alleviate some of their stress and anxiety:
"It's a beautiful program, some of these kids are so traumatized (...) and it's very difficult for them to talk or relax, so the dog just helps them open up and speak up. These dogs are helping to get convictions, which is the bottom line," said Carol Davis.The key in all these instances is that dogs are 100% nonjudgemental. if a person is afraid, embarrassed, or not trusting of other humans, they can talk or pet these furry guys, and the benefits are endless.
If you live in San Diego County and are interested in their programs or in becoming a donor/volunteer along with your pet, please check out their website to learn more. Dogs of any breed (including rescue pups) as young as 1 year old can receive training.