Hand in Paw

Rating: 4.93 stars   40 reviews

Issues: Health, Human Services

Location: 617 38th Street South Birmingham AL 35222 USA

Mission: Hand in Paw's mission is to improve the health and well-being of children and adults by serving those with physical, emotional, educational, or psychological needs through interactions with professionally-trained Animal-Assisted Therapy Teams.
Target demographics: children and adults
Direct beneficiaries per year: 70,000+ people in Central Alabama
Geographic areas served: Central Alabama
Programs: • Petscription – Positive distraction from pain and worry for patients in hospitals and motivation for meeting therapeutic goals in rehabilitation units and early intervention programs • Pawsitive Living™ – Twelve-week, goal-directed program for troubled youth, teaching anger management, relationship-building, empathy and compassion • Sit, Stay, Read! – Encouragement for reluctant young readers to gain confidence, sharpen their skills and improve school performance by reading aloud to a nonjudgmental furry friend

2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

Since founding Hand in Paw in 1996, my life continues to be enriched bystories of lives being touched (and bettered) by the unconditional love of a therapy animal. I have visited wtih 7 different thearpy dogs over the years and continue to visit with my Shih tzu Promise at Children's Hospital of Alabama. I am never ceased to be amazed at the significance of the interactions between a therapy team and a parent or child whose spirits are lifted (and in the process, there are important physical and emotinal benefits). HIP is filled with caring, dedicated volunteers and staff members and wiht animals glad to 'work their magic'. I am in AWE of them all!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a Hand in Paw volunteer with my dog, Ivan. We enjoy the visits with clients and we get a lot of support from Hand in Paw. It is a great organization that serves the community well. I am proud to be a small part.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Hand in Paw is a wonderful organization to work with. It's a pleasure working alongside the volunteers and it's wonderful to meet every person touched by their work. Hand in Paw reaches into every facet of the community and is unforgettable once you've seen a therapy animal at work!

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a volunteer and Board Member with Hand In Paw. My kids (son Banks (14) and daughter Lauren (13)) and I volunteer 1-2x a week with our therapy dog Lucky. We often get more out of these visits than those we visit. My kids get to see other kids their age with "real" life problems and are forced from the bubble they reside in every day. They learn to appreciate their lives, health and family. Those they visit benefit from seeing my kids take time from their very busy schedules to spend time with them (we often participate in 12-week Pawsitive Living Programs or monthly visits with the elderly at assisted living homes). Plus, they adore Lucky who is the perfect dog for pet therapy. We have seen abused kids "come out of their shells" with Lucky and end a visit by hugging and laying on him. The smiles Lucky brings to everyone's faces is worth all the money in the world!!!

Hand In Paw is especially unique and fabulous because it reaches and benefits a huge spectrum of other charities. From Children's Hospital and the Ronald McDonald House to homeless shelters and retirement homes-- Hand In Paw helps all sorts of people every day. I love it!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Being a member of Hand in Paw is not only fun but very inspirational. My husband, Frank Bainbridge, and I work as partners with our little dog Pippa. Through Hand in Paw we are able to go to Children's of Alabama and UAB to visit sick people. Without this organization we would not have access to these wonderful facilities. Hand in Paw trains us...we have to train the dog!...and then puts us through a series of tests to make certain that we are qualified to perform our visits properly.
We have been fortunate to be associated with many volunteer organizations, and can honestly say that Hand in Paw is one of the best! Thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell many people about Hand in Paw. Philippa Bainbridge

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Rating: 4 stars  

Ruby and I continue to serve the community through HIP, and feel blessed after each and every visit we make. We love our work with children and enjoy watching them read. The many patients we have visited in hospitals have touched our hearts. And the nursing home residents bring us joy. I often wonder who gets more out of the visits, us, or those we serve. I look forward to our future visits and the many friends we will make along the way.

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1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I am so honored that my little dog, Ruby and I are a pet therapy team working with Hand In Paw. We visit retirement/ nursing homes on Sunday afternoons. There are some people so excited we are coming that they are waiting at the door for our arrival. Ruby and Ilove our weekly visits with shelter children. They read to her as part of our Sit Stay Read program. Some of the children even show her the pictures in the books they read. It is so cute and helps promote reading. We love visiting the hospitals and bringing smiles to the patients and their families. We know it helps to take some of the pain away, at least for a little while. And this past summer we participated in a Pawsitive Living program with a group of therapy teams. This experience alone, changed my life for the better. We witnessed through this program a tranformation in the lives of some beautiful teenage girls who had been used and abused. I will never forget the girls, and therapy teams, and the difference it made in our lives. And all of this was possible becaus of Hand In Paw.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Hand in Paw is a joyful and caring organization providing love and tenderness to many children, families and the staffs of groups all over our city. I first remember Hand in Paw many years ago when two of the members brought their dogs to visit children locked in the Family Court youth detention facility.

Hand in Paw has grown since then and now visits hundreds of people every year who are in need of loving attention and kindness. We help children read and help them in recovery from serious illness. We brighten the day of everyone we meet with our Therapy Teams.

I am proud to work with Hand in Paw and to be a part of the positive impact we have daily in the lives of others.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Having been involved with our Flat Coat Retriever, Brewster for almost 10 years, it has been a privilege and and honor to have listened while children read to us and not be judged by Brewster. It has been amazing to watch boys with anger management problems learn to be gentle and kind. It has been incredible to see cancer patients smile for 5 minutes and forget their serious illness and to talk about their dogs at home waiting for them. It has seemed like a miracle to be with a patient at UAB and watch their heart rate settle down as they pet Brewster. He has no idea the impact he has but he loves every visit. Even the doctors and nurses LOVE some canine therapy!

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Rating: 5 stars  

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.

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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Dusty and Buddy, 2 Shih Tzus, would tell you that as they hear and see the reactions of children, families, and staff, they know they are making a difference in the lives of countless people. They would tell you that their lives are better as well. They bring smiles wherever they go! But listen as they tell it:

Whenever we hear our human pet partners say, 'You want to go to work' we get excited and can't wait to visit. Every Thursday we begin our day at the UAB cancer center and visit children who are having radiation. They and the staff are so glad to see us and they let us accompany the children into the room with the child. After the child wakes up after treatment they often ask for one of us!! We next go across the street to the UAB palliative care unit and often get in bed with patients who are nearing the end of their lives. We are humbled often as an unresponsive patient tries to pet and love on us! As we ride in our own pet strollers, you should see the surprised and excited looks we get from so many folks! We also visit in the memory and skilled nursing units at Kirkwood by the River. We are so pleased as patients tell us we remind them of their pets and thank us for the visit. Another place we go is the oncology unit at Children's hospital and offer what is called 'Sit, Stay, and Read'. The boys and girls love to read to us and we enjoy hearing them as well. We also visit the ACE (Acute Care for the Elderly) at UAB Highlands. Again, we cannot believe how happy old and young of heart are to see us and want us to get in bed so they can pet us! Of course, we love the attention and compliments.
So we want to thank Hand in Paw for the wonderful opportunity they give us to offer support, care, and love to so many people.

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