Pawsitive News: Hand in Paw Animal-Assisted Therapy program helping people of all ages
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Hand in Paw (HIP) is a nonprofit organization that trains qualified animals and their owners to work as a team at in-person and virtual therapeutic settings.
“HIP teams become heroes to people of all ages dealing with emotional and physical life challenges. These Therapy Teams deliver positive distraction, motivation, empathy and compassion in several facilities across Central Alabama and Tuscaloosa,” HIP states.
HIP’s mission is to improve human health and well-being through animal-assisted therapy. Their vision? A healthier, brighter, kinder community.
“Hand in Paw’s professionally-trained volunteer handler and animal Therapy Teams help improve people’s day-to-day lives in several medical centers, schools, and human service organizations throughout North Central Alabama and Tuscaloosa. Our volunteer teams make thousands of beneficial visits through community events and participating facilities each year, helping countless children with special needs, at-risk youth, struggling students, and people with chronic and terminal illnesses.”
Hand in Paw does not charge for its services.
HIP Heals: HIP Therapy Teams provide therapeutic visits in a variety of settings, including: hospitals, nursing homes, universities, and early intervention organizations. Animal-Assisted Therapy and Animal-Assisted Activities are two methods HIP teams utilize to enhance health and wellness, and reduce stress.
HIP Reads: Animal-Assisted Education helps students achieve academic and educational goals in the classroom. HIP Teams help children build reading skills, gain confidence, and foster pro-social behaviors. They deliver Animal-Assisted Education via two programs - School’s Best Friend and Sit, Stay, Read!
“The Hand in Paw team is responsible for many smiles, acts of courage, and joy across our units. We are forever grateful of their dedication to the safety and overall health of our patients,” said Caitlin & Fairfax, Certified Child Life Specialists, Children’s of Alabama.
According to their website, in 2021, Hand in Paw made over 24,125 therapeutic interactions, 855 visits, and worked 1,754 volunteer hours.
If you’d like to donate to HIP, visit their website.
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