I got involved with Hand in Paw through my daughter who was a volunteer at the time. I started looking into it and was amazed at the work they were doing and became a volunteer myself.. I work full time now, but when I retire I plan to be much more involved.
I joined HIP 41/2 years ago with my dog, Dinah. Currently we visit 3 facilities: Children's Hospital of AL, UAB Hospital, and a day program for memory impaired adults. I often feel I get more out of visiting than the clients! It's volunteer work that offers immediate rewards to the participants - I love doing this!
Being a part of HIP as a volunteer is a privilege for me and for Dinah, my schnauzer mix. The preparation, confidence, and continuing support HIP gives to handlers and dogs both during and after training has enabled us to feel like we are "making a difference" as we visit clients. Dinah and I currently visit a retirement community, an alzheimers daytime care facility, and UAB Highlands Hospital. In the past there have been many other types of facilities/events. At each and every one, our reward is seeing faces light up and people become engaged when they meet Dinah. She knows when we are leaving for a visit and her tail goes into overdrive-wag! Thank you, HIP for this opportunity, and for being the professional-yet-personal, efficient organization that you are.
My "pound puppy," and I trained, tested, and were a therapy team with Hand in Paw for 6 years. While we retired as a team, I continue to volunteer as an assistant with other pet therapy teams. I have seen firsthand the impact it can have on ones who need encouragement, motivation, and diversion. Hand in Paw has provided the training, facilitated our visits, and maintained records of our visits.
My son Hunter Towe had to stay at Children's of Alabama Hospital for 5 straight months.He had an LVAD implanted and during this his kidneys quit functioning as they should so he had to go on dialysis 24 hrs. a day.He couldn't leave the room for several months because of the dialysis.The only bright spot in his day was getting to see Chivas from Hand In Paw.Chivas was used as a reward to get Hunter to do his therapy and it worked. The Currie's that brought Chivas to the hospital are loving and wonderful people that really care and enjoy what they do. God called Hunter home May 3, 2016 at the age of 15.I will always be thankful to Hand in Paw for the joy that Chivas brought to my son and to all of us.You will never know how much it meant to me to see the joy in my son's face after all the things he was going through. Hunter was missing his dog from home so much and Chivas helped ease that a little.Hunter did get to go home for a few months before he passed and he loved spending time with his dog-Striker. Kids and adults need the love an animal can give and Hand in Paw is a great example of that. I LOVE this organization !!!! Thank You-Sherry Towe. The first picture is Hunter with Chivas and the next picture is Hunter with his dog Striker.
My dog and I have been volunteering with Hand In Paw for over two years after my move to Birmingham. I visit weekly to United Cerebral Palsy of Birmingham and Vestavia Hills Elementary. These visits are the most rewarding parts of my week. The staff at Hand In Paw does everything possible to make sure that the volunteers have all the assistance we may need (both in personnel and supplies) to share the human animal bond with those we visit.
This organization has helped many people get through difficult physical and emotional situations with the help of animal assisted therapy. Children have learned to read, become responsible, and to not bully with the help of Hand In Paw. People all of ages have smiled, laughed, and been comforted by the touch of an animal.