PAWS for People™ (Pet-Assisted Visitation Volunteer Services, or PAWS – the “w” are 2 Vs together) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing therapeutic visits to any person in the community who would benefit from interaction with a well-trained, loving pet.
PAWS's emphasis on individualized visits and strict standards in training and testing dogs, cats, and bunnies ensure that every volunteer team is capable of meeting the various needs of PAWS’ diverse clientele. From hospitals to rehab facilities, PAWS volunteers share the love of their therapy companions. Currently, there are over 450 volunteer teams visiting 160+ locations in DE, MD, PA & NJ.
PAWS has over 20 programs that address a range of physical, emotional, and mental health needs. PAWS partnering sites include hospitals, eldercare facilities, courthouses, rehabilitation centers, mental health facilities, colleges, schools, libraries, corporate offices, and more. Specially trained PAWS for Reading and PreK PAWS teams provide sessions to help children enjoy reading while improving their literacy skills with the encouragement and comfort of a non-judgmental therapy pet.
Benefits of Pet Therapy
Petting a dog – or cat or bunny – simply makes you feel better. There is the emotional impact of interacting with a pet, but also real, physiological changes that improve your well-being.
That pet needs you for who you are, so you can be just that – who you are. When the pet is with you, you feel better, have increased hope in your life, can read more confidently, walk farther, and tell him your secrets - because he promises not to tell anyone, ever
Petting a dog releases the mood elevating hormones, serotonin and oxytocin, and reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Petting a dog (or cat or bunny) also lowers blood pressure and slows heart rate. Those changes make us feel lighter, calmer, and more relaxed.
The PAWS for Reading program builds on that calm moment to help support children’s literacy goals. Reading to a sweet, non-judgmental dog allows a struggling or hesitant reader to relax. Time spent reading to a dog increases fluency, reduces anxiety, and fosters a love of reading.
Bring the kids to a one-on-one PAWS for a Reading session with a PAWS therapy pet at one of their partnering libraries.
Participating Libraries in the area
- Media-Upper Providence Library (PA)
Second & Fourth Tuesdays, 4:15 – 5:15 PM
- Springfield Township Public Library (PA)
First & Third Wednesdays, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
- Swarthmore Public Library (PA)
First & Third Thursdays, 6:00 – 7:00
- Rachel Kohl Community Library - Glen Mills
Second Saturday of the month, 10:30-11:30 AM
Pet therapy touches humans psychologically, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Time with a pet provides healing for any and every part of you that is hurting.
Visit PAWS for People’s website for more information on their mission, how to volunteer with or without your pet, opportunities, schedules, programs and how to request a visit for yourself or a loved one: PAWSforPeople.org
There is the emotional impact of interacting with a pet, but also real, physiological changes that improve your well-being. That pet needs you for who you are, so you can be just that – who you are. When the pet is with you, you feel better, have increased hope in your life, can read more confidently, and tell him your secrets - because he promises not to tell anyone, ever.