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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Hand in Paw

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Health, Health Care, Human Services, Youth Development

Mission: To improve human health and well-being through animal-assisted therapy

Target demographics: people of all ages facing physical, mental, behavioral, cognitive, and educational challenges

Direct beneficiaries per year: the patients, students, and clients of 100 inpatient medical units, clinics, schools, and a wide range of human service agencies

Geographic areas served: North 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™ & No More Bullies– A curriculum-based, 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

Community Stories

74 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hand in Paw helps so many people in so many ways...when you see and hear stories of children with physical disabilities, communication issues, and bullying issues have experiences with Hand in Paw therapy dogs, it is truly heart warming. The children have smiles on their faces, they come out of their shell, they have days that they look forward to. I have seen children at the Bell Center very involved with therapy dogs from singing, walking, playing, learning to be gentle, and laughing when they get a kiss from the dogs. I have heard about the stories at UAB and Children's hospital of the smiles from patients receiving treatments that would otherwise cause much anxiety, but because of the therapy pets, the treatment actually involves smiles.
Hand in Paw is beneficial to patients, families, and the therapy teams. Every life touched has a positive experience.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

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.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I believe in the power of animal assisted therapy and LOVE what Hand in Paw is doing in central Alabama!! Hand in Paw volunteers bring so much joy and happiness to so many people in need.

Board Member

Rating: 5

To me, Hand in Paw encompasses so many facets of assistance to others in our community. On any given day, their certified trained teams can be found spreading love and compassion at our local Children's Hospital, Hospital Cancer Center, School Reading Programs, working with troubled youth, developmentally disabled children, visiting an Assisted Living Facility or Skilled Nursing Facility, at a local university or business providing stress relief from exam pressures or stressful business environments. Many of the animals who are a vital part of the trained therapy teams are actual rescues from local animal rescue organizations. In volunteering with Hand in Paw, it's been a segway in to working with or touching so many other organizations where we all work together to enrich one another's respective missions. This is just one of the many reasons why I am dedicated to, and love, Hand in Paw.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

This organization encompasses so many avenues of service to the community with their diverse vision and utilization of pets who are trained, along with their owners, to provide animal assisted therapy. The standard of excellence in which they conduct their business has gained them national & international attention with other similar entities reaching out to them for guidance in their own programs.
Hand in Paw currently provides pet assisted therapy to Cancer units in hospitals, Children's Hospital & various units within that hospital, workplace stress environment therapy along with college campuses & study groups, therapy assistance with troubled youths, reading & literacy programs, autistic and developmentally disabled, therapy visits to the elderly at Assisted Living & Skilled Nursing facilities as well as the abused, battered, mental health and substance abuse. Their scope of services continues
to expand and be in demand creating a broad waiting list of clients to experience their compassionate services delivered through their trained pets and the pet owners.
It's pretty cool to see them in action.

Board Member

Rating: 5

After going on several visits, I simply had to get involved with HIP. It is an amazing group doing amazing work at Children's, UAB, and so many other institutions around this city. As a board member and as a husband/dog parent of a therapy team, I see all the angles of this organization and couldn't be more impressed with the work HIP does.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As a board member, we go on shadow visits to see the therapy team in action. I wish we could take everyone on one of these visits. My visit was seeing a 3 year old little boy getting some much needed physical therapy and he was not having it. When the therapy dog walked into the room he went from crying to the biggest smile you have ever seen. That so enforced my love and support for this organization.

1 Laura G.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I first started working for my current employer 11 years ago, I noticed the animals in the lobby and wondered how they were allowed inside a hospital. I inquired for more information and learned about Hand in Paw and their Petscription Program. Shortly thereafter I got a puppy of my own and becoming a therapy team with Hand in Paw seemed like the logical next step. We cherished our time as a therapy team, but Lula has since retired. My love for Hand in Paw hasn't stopped though. I am still actively involved on their Junior Board.

Katie K.1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hand in Paw is one of the most rewarding non-profits to be involved with. From the staff to all of the volunteers (animals included), they are a joy to work with. Their mission is amazing and their work in the community is even better.

1 MFlinn

Client Served

Rating: 5

I work for the nonprofit, The National Humane Education Society, and we partnered with Hand in Paw for a week-long outreach visit to Alabama to teach nearly 2,000 Birmingham elementary students about kindness to animals and the human-animal bond. Without question, Hand in Paw arranged for 5 therapy animals to visit across 5 days of programming. It was amazing! Students who were previously terrified of dogs were laughing, smiling, and petting the dogs. Most had never learned the safe way to approach a dog and many had never learned about the emotional lives of animals. Best of all, Hand in Paw partnered with us solely out of their desire to help their community. They wanted nothing in return. The NHES humane education team is so appreciative of their graciousness and talents!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Tiffany74

Volunteer

Rating: 5

HIP does so much good work that they can't even do it all! Calling all volunteers!!!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer with HIP everyone is friendly and always willing to help anyone in need. I go to Children's of Alabama and it is so rewarding when you can put a smile on a child's face and also there parents, as they go thru there challenges.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

Rebeccah C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Amazing program and people and pets!!! Love watching these therapy teams change lives daily.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen first hand the impact these therapy dog teams have on so many individuals. People within this organization are compassionate and care deeply about the people within their community. They give tirelessly.

Ashley175

Board Member

Rating: 5

Hand in Paw is truly a wonderful organization that brings joy and happiness through animal-assisted therapy to thousands of people across central Alabama.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was in the hospital 10 days before my twins were born and having Buddy come sit on my bed one morning was wonderful. I'm a dog person and Buddy could tell. His owners said he had never stayed as still as he did when I was petting him. His picture card is in my twins' baby books. Thank you for sharing your furry friends with those who need a smile!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hand In Paw has enriched my life as well as the many children, their families and employees that I have visited at Children's hospital. I have primarily assisted at the Oncology/Hematology clinic and to see the stress be removed from all of their faces and bodies when they see the dog is truly a wonderful feeling.