From top to bottom, Paws'itive Teams stands out from all others as being run in an intelligent, practical way with priority being placed always where it belongs: firstly on the welfare of the dogs, and secondly on the needs of the clients and community served. As a professional in the field of animal training I have worked with and for several service dog organizations in various capacities over the last 15-20 years. I have seen all kinds of problems crop up for otherwise well-meaning groups, whether it be disagreements over training philosophies, fundraising problems, communication difficulties, or simply growing too large, too fast. In the more than two years I have been volunteering for Paws'itive Teams Therapy Dog program and in other capacities as a trainer, this organization has become an integral part of my life. Every step taken, from the Board of Directors down to the Site Leaders, is thought out with such care and compassion for those it impacts, that the problems I am used to seeing just don't exist. Training concerns are addressed immediately with the animals' and client's best interests always as the guiding factor - no egos allowed. Money issues are handled in such a smart and organized way that it is never a visible source of contention. Communication happens in a well-organized fashion, growth is controlled but never stifled, and by keeping Paws'itive Teams local, everyone involved is allowed to feel like a part of new projects and successes. I cannot recommend this group enough as worthy of charitable donations. Not a cent is wasted, and the work they do has an overwhelmingly powerful effect on the San Diego community.
I volunteered several years ago as a trainer and handler for the THerapy Dog program sponsored by Pawsitive Teams. Carol Davis and Charli King are very committed, knowledgeable and compassionate
women. THe program reflects that. I helped launch a therapy dog program at the alternative High School in the City of Poway, Abraxas. The students in the special education class were quickly affected by the dogs. One young man who graduated in May after the program start in December was able to meet the goals set by his teacher thanks to the dogs. He has Asbergers Autism, the goals were to engage with someone in a meaningful way and show affection. The small dog named Teddy was able to get the young man, named James, to smile for a picture, hold a lengthy conversation with me, Teddy's handler. and tell the class about dog training. NO one, not even his family, knew he was a fan of Ceasar Milan, the dog whisperer.
I first became aware of the Paws'itive Teams organization several years ago when the Adaptive Physical Education teacher at the school where I worked, brought a "facility dog" with her to the lessons she taught to students with special needs. I saw how the students adored the gentle labrador and tried harder to use their muscles and their communication skills to interact with "Higgins." I became involved with the organization myself two years ago when I retired. I wanted to find a way to stay involved with people and to "share" my dog with other people who might not have access to a dog in their lives.
I have been so impressed and appreciative of this amazing organization, run entirely by volunteers, which offers so much to the San Diego community. One facet of the program is training service dogs. After two years of intensive training these dogs are transitioned into the lives of individuals who have physical disabilities, enabling them to have the assistance of the dog to help with physical challenges, as well as to have the wonderful companionship of a loving dog.
Other programs within the organization include Personal Paws, or home visits to individuals who could benefit from interaction with a gentle friendly dog (with handler) in their lives. In addition, the organization has a Paws'itive Animal Assisted Therapy program in which dogs and handlers work to provide goal-directed therapy in programs such as schools with special needs children. This is the program with which I am most familiar. My dog and I participated in such a program and saw the benefits to the students, as well as the enjoyment the dogs and handlers received in working with the students and staff. We also participated in visits to a downtown program for women who were living in a sheltered situation while recovering from abusive backgrounds or drug addictions. Caring, positive interaction with therapy dogs and their handlers provided confidence and joy to these women.
Another important aspect of this organization is the excellent training and on-going in-services all volunteers are given, and all dog teams are tested annually. Safety is always of greatest importance. No volunteer is ever put into any type of uncomfortable situation or any situation for which they have not been well-trained.
This is definitely a life-changing organization and I can attest to the positive influence it has had on my life and the lives of others from both sides of the organization: those who are "helping" and those who are "being helped." The benefits definitely go both ways.
Carol Davis and Charli King formed Paws’itive Teams because they wanted to bring a more dog friendly attitude to the training of Service Dogs in San Diego.
All our training is performed with positive reinforcement. I had always wondered what sort of life service dogs really led and I can tell you that the Paws’itive team of Service Dogs, Facility Dogs and Therapy dogs lead happy and healthy lives.
It’s a real pleasure to see them train on Thursday evenings at our facility. It takes two years to prepare our student pups for their new assignments and they have plenty of play time before and after the session.
I am Chairman of the Board of Directors of Paws’itive Teams. I’m proud to be associated with an organization which performs such a valuable service for our society in a kind and positive manner.
Paws’itive Teams is a “class act” – a highly effective and committed organization. Since I took the Therapy Prep class eight years ago, I’ve been impressed by the tremendous quality of training provided during the first two years in the life of a potential service dog.
Along with several of my dogs, I have been active in the therapy dog programs: Personal Paws (meet-n-greet) and Paws’itive Animal Assisted Therapy (goal-directed) visits. PAAT is a unique model – a full service goal-directed therapy program – for dog/handler teams. From the Therapy Prep class, the team receives certification from Paws’itive Teams, as well as advanced training opportunities. Several different facilities, organizations and locations are available to the volunteer teams to select where they want to visit. With all of these offerings, Paws’itive Teams is “one stop shopping” for a therapy team that is serious about being active in the San Diego therapy dog community! I've witnessed the improvements in clients' lives brought about by the therapy visits - so very rearding!
Review from Guidestar
My association with Pawsitive teams started 2 years ago when my golden and I attended the therapy dog prep school. We both learned a significant amount about therapy dogs and service dogs. The trainers there were so experienced and helpful to all the students and their dogs. At the end of the classes you have a good idea what type of environment your dog is suited for. I decided to join the Pawsitive teams group in order to volunteer at a High School working with students that are mentally and physically challenged. This has been a very rewarding experience for both me and my dog. We work in a goal directed therapy environment which means that the teacher gives the trainer goals for the student. The trainers then have to come up with ways to accomplish the goal. This is my second year participating in this program and its truly amazing the progress the students make in the time we work with them. Our association with Pawsitive teams has also allowed us to participate in other events in our community like Read across American and de-stress days at 2 local universities.
This is only a part of Pawsitive teams does. There is a group of very generous and selfless individuals who train the service dogs. These individuals take a puppy and work with them for over a year then the Pawsitive teams finds the perfect match for the service dog and finally the trainer spends months working with the selected recipient and the service dog. If that isn't enough, the organization also provides follow-up support throughout the working life of the team. Truly impressive work!
Life is short, and time is our most precious resource. So I believe it's important to spend time where one will do the most good when it comes to volunteering. I have volunteered with various non-profit organizations (both large and small) over the past 15 years, and Paws'itive Teams stands out the most to me because it impacts the local community in a truly life-changing way through its service dog, therapy dog and educational outreach programs. Volunteering with Paws'itive Teams has given me some of the most rewarding experiences that I've had in my life.
I had the privilege of working with Paws'itive Teams while I was living in San Diego. I was very impressed with this organization's commitment to providing the highest quality of training for service dogs and support for those individuals with whom the dogs are placed. Additionally, Paws'itive Teams has become incredibly innovative in finding ways of providing valuable therapy dog services that go above and beyond traditional "meet and greet" models.
I was so impressed with the Paws'itive Teams model that I chose to audit their Therapy Dog Prep School class even though I did not, at the time, have a dog suitable for therapy work. The Paws'itive Teams environment is one that is nurturing and supportive for students, volunteers and dogs. It is nonetheless very rigorous and in keeping with the overall commitment to quality.
Paws'itive Teams is a tremendous asset to the San Diego Community. I only wish there were a comparable organization in my current city. If I were to develop a service dog and/or therapy program I would use Paws'itive Teams programs as a model.
Review from Guidestar
I joined the Board of Directors because I have an affinity for dogs and making a difference in the world, but in working with Paws'itive Teams, I have gotten so much more. This starts and ends with the hard-working people who make PT run: everyone is genuine and is a part of this top-notch organization to help connect people with these fantastic and gifted canines. While the centerpiece of the program is linking service dogs with people who have limited mobility (including war veterans), Paws'itive Teams does so much more. When a critical testimony is needed from a child in order to lock up some scumbag, we provide a dog at the witness stand to calm the child. When a judge mandates that a child volunteers as part of a probation program, they can learn leadership and discipline through working with Paws'itive Teams. And when a classroom of people with mental and physical disabilities gets a visit from Paws'itive Teams, certain students experience not only the joy of working with the dogs, but also remarkable improvement in mental and physical abilities. Also, please know that Paws'itive teams runs "lean": we only have one salary for Art, who essentially works for less than minimum wage and gives 1/2 of it back via donation every year. He has also run larger organizations anyway, plus he could make six figures in any private company, he's just that good. Needless to say your donation is going to a great cause. It's truly a blessing to be part of this organization and to work with such a dedicated team, and with your donation, we will continue to grow and improve!
Review from Guidestar
My dog Oscar and I became a certified therapy team 2 1/2 years ago, and have been active volunteers since then. We volunteer weekly at a school, working with developmentally challenged students, many of whom have trouble communicating, due to autisim and/or downs syndrome. By giving the dogs simple commands (sit, stay, down) and seeing the dog respond, these kids literally blossom. They can work on eye contact with the dogs, which then translates to better eye contact with humans. Even the act of petting the dogs helps calm those with severe disabilities and puts smiles on their faces. We also volunteer with the San Diego County Victim Advocate Program, to support children having to testify in court against their abusers. By being with these kids in the waiting room and hallway before court, Oscar helps to calm and distract them. He then sits by their feet on the witness stand for calming while they testify. Without a dog with them, we have been told that many kids could not testify at all. I have also observed the worthwhile program pairing therapy dogs with wounded vets, and seen firsthand the calming effect the dogs have on those with PTSD. For example, a vet who was terrified of crowds, was able to talk to people in public about the dog and have the dog do a trick. I also marvel at how the trained service dogs help give a normal life back to a wounded vet by bringing him his prosthetic legs so that they can hike together! The founders (Carol and Charli) foster a spirit of respect, support and professionalism and set this positive tone for all who volunteer. They provide frequent in-service training to help us hone our skills and are always available for questions. I honestly feel I have gotten more from Paws'itive Teams than I could ever give back, and am so proud to be associated with such a worthwhile organization.
Review from Guidestar