PAWS TO READ




We work to improve the literacy skills children using dog/handler teams as literacy mentors.
        
 
Literacy specialists acknowledge that some children are intimidated by reading in a group, may have low self-esteem and view reading as a chore.



Our dogs provide friendly, non-judgmental ears and give the children their enthusiastic, undivided attention.


Children in Paws to Read programs have decreased absenteeism, improved self-confidence and self-esteem. Best of all, their reading scores improve!




Students read to the dogs for approximately 15 minutes.

The dogs provide a positive, non-threatening audience to help sharpen communication skills. They never laugh when a child stutters or mispronounces a word.

Around the dog, most children start to relax and forget about how “hard” reading can seem. In fact, most participants find it fun and can’t wait for their next Paws to Read session.



ANGLES WITH PAWS




Our teams visit patients at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs, Heritage Care Center in Carbondale, and other assisted living facilities.


Medical professionals are aware that the visits from animals can have therapeutic and soothing effects which can greatly speed the healing process.


Dog visits allow patients relief from painful and invasive procedures by providing a warm, furry, safe and non-threatening interaction.


The benefits of a Heeling Partner team visit are many:

-  Outward Focus: Patients watch and talk to and about their animals.

-  Mental Stimulation: Mental stimulation occurs from the increased communication with other people, recalled memories and entertainment provided by the animals.

-  Socialization: Visits facilitate more interaction and laughter among patients, family and staff.

 -  Physical Contact & Touch: Dog visits allow the patient relief from painful and invasive touches, providing a warm, furry, safe and non-threatening interaction.

 -  Physiological: Dogs help the patients relax resulting in decreased heart rate, blood pressure and other health benefits.




WHAT IT'S LIKE TO VISIT AT HERITAGE CARE CENTER


Several of our teams visit residents/patients of Heritage Park Care Center in Carbondale. Ann, a regular visitor with Joia, wrote the article below on the experience. 

Joia and I tend to visit at least once a month - sometimes more. Joia gets very excited when we go through the front door, so we hang out in the reception area for a while until she calms down. She loves the receptionists and knows there is a bag of treats at the front desk.

I find it helpful to ask at the front desk if they know of patients who especially love dogs and would appreciate a doggie visit. Two names keep coming up: Verna and Joyce. Verna is often to be found sitting on the sofa in the reception area and she likes to whistle like a bird, which excites Joia even more.  Everyone probably knows Joyce who is in the Alzheimer's unit. She will tell you that she likes dogs more than most people.

We walk the halls and visit rooms if the doors are open and the patients seem interested. Most of our time is spent in the circular area outside the dining room...and for us the best time to visit has been from 4:00pm on as people congregate there before dinner. Even a short interaction can be rewarding; one woman asked to pet Joia and then said "Thank you for bringing joy into my life".

As we wander around I try to be very alert; watching hands and feet for signs of bandages, etc., watching that Joia doesn't snarf up fallen food from the floor and that her tail doesn't get run over. I did have one surprise; a man who I believe works at Heritage came up behind me with a beautiful, young black lab "Beau" who initially growled at Joia; we moved aside and they got to  know each other and parted as friends, but I was surprised from behind that time.