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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Paws and Think Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Animal-Related, Animals, Children & Youth, Education, Emergency Assistance, Human Services, Literacy, Remedial Reading & Encouragement, Youth Development

Mission: Mission Statement: Improving lives through the power of the human-dog connection. Vision Statement (Every Person, Every Dog): Paws & Think is a non-profit organization focusing on the at-risk community, both human and canine. Our vision is to create a community where “every person who would benefit from a dog has the opportunity, and every dog fulfills its potential.” We do this with two proven methods: one of training and providing therapy animals for both animal assisted activities and animal assisted therapies to youth, seniors and special needs individuals of all ages. The second method is our Youth–Canine Programs that facilitate classes for at-risk youth and teens, helping them to train shelter dogs with positive reinforcement behaviors. The young people learn responsibility, job readiness, anger management, parenting skills, leadership and positive life skills, while at the same time increasing the dog’s chances of adoption because of the basic obedience skills learned. Pride and confidence are found as a result of both aspects of our vision.

Results: School test scores demonstrate huge strides in the students in our R.E.A.D. programs. Over 160 shelter dogs have been trained and found new homes. Over 320 Incarcerated youth offenders are learning positive methods to achieve their goals, along with compassion and empathy. In 2016, we had over 300 volunteers including over 100 therapy teams (handler and his/her therapy dog) who donated more than 3700 hours.

Target demographics: homeless dogs and vulnerable populations in the greater Indianapolis community

Direct beneficiaries per year: Impacted 30,000 lives in Central Indiana including over 160 shelter dogs and 320 young juvenile offenders

Geographic areas served: Indianapolis and contiguous communities

Programs: Pet Therapy for hospitals and eldercare communities, Reading Education Assistance Dogs for in-school programsand Youth-Canine Programs

Community Stories

56 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Glendale Branch Library of the Indianapolis Public Library has had a long
standing ( 10 years) rewarding relationship with Paw and Think and the 23 different dogs and
volunteers. They have added a delightful and surprising ambiance to the library while encouraging young people to read, which is what we are all about.

Client Served

Rating: 5

We have an amazing volunteer come to our preschool monthly with her big, furry, loving companion Bella. She joins us for circle time where we begin by reading a book aloud. Our kids are all speech and/or language delayed so we always develop an activity where kids can tell Bella about their project. We design it so that the kids can ask Bella questions as well. For our kids, interaction with an animal is often less stressful than communicating with people and they LOVE to see her each month! Bella is a great model and a great listener. We are so grateful for our time with her and her owner. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

From the Director, to the volunteers, to the canine trainers -- Paws and Think is a phenomenal contribution to the greater Indianapolis area! Working together to serve youth in our community through canines was one of the best professional experiences I have ever had. Volunteers are caring, compassionate, and well-trained. The Canine Trainer was exceptional -- she was engaging, inspiring and approachable. Finally, Kelsey - the Executive Director - is absolutely amazing! She is very easily able to bring community partners together, is beyond knowledgeable about the needs of both youth and canines, and is just a pleasure to work with. Cannot wait for our next program together. Thank you from the Fishers Youth Assistance Staff and clients for an amazing partnership and experience!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Indianapolis Public Library is a proud host to many Paws & Think therapy teams. The children look forward to reading to their favorite dog in a non-judgmental environment. Of course, the children love to give and receive lots of puppy love.

It has been a joy working with the staff of Paws & Think. They have helped us to develop and roll out to our staff, a set of solid procedures that ensures a safe and rewarding experience for our patrons, volunteers, staff, and the therapy team. This is the foundation for a long-term, positive partnership.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am privileged to serve on the board of this wonderful organization. Bringing together dogs and people in need is a special and rewarding endeavor. This organization is truly committed to making the lives of dogs and people better. It is warming to see how people light up when they see our dogs coming and how excited the dogs get when they get to help people. I true sight to see.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I recently joined Paws and Think. In just a short amount of time, I quickly saw how committed the staff and volunteers are to the mission of the organization. The value added to the lives they serve through human-dog connection is immeasurable. They truly make a difference.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was part of the Paws and Think in Noblesville. We linked teens with shelter dogs for a week. It was so encouraging. These kids let their guards down and these dogs soaked up the love and attention! What an amazing program to offer!

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a children's librarian and animal lover, one of my missions years ago was to get a Paws to Read program going at our public library. Our director at the time was resistant to the idea, primarily for liability reasons. Enter Paws and Think. Gayle Hutchens met with me a couple of times in the early 2000s to work through the details of creating a relationship between that organization and the library. With her help, we started inviting children to come to the library to read to a friendly dog. For at least ten years now, this monthly program has been one of our patrons' most beloved events. We are a busy library, and without the gracious, dedicated volunteers and the organizational skills of their leaders, we wouldn't be able to do this. I can't tell you how many kids--even reluctant readers--light up when given a chance to curl up with a book and read to a dog who will listen without judgement. What sets this group apart is their dedication to continued training (including the R.E.A.D. training). And over the years, the dog-lover in me has been most impressed that while they’re committed to the well-being of the people they serve, they’re just as committed to the health and happiness of the dogs who give so much.

Previous Stories
3

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm a children's librarian at the Carmel Clay Public Library. We've had monthly visits from the dogs and volunteers for a few years now, and this has been one of our best-received programs ever. For so many reluctant or struggling readers, the simple act of reading aloud to these dogs has opened up a whole new world. One parent told me that she struggled to get her son to practice his reading even for a few minutes a day , until he got involved with our "Paws to Read" program, which inspired him to practice at home for a full hour! He told his mom that he wanted to be ready for his appointment with the Paws and Think dog. And just this past weekend, a mom watched in amazement as her child had her first chance to read to a dog--her daughter ordinarily didn't like reading aloud, but there she was, confidently reading to Ginny, the little dog who listened happily with no judgment!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Paws and Think is an integral part of Camp Healing Tree every year. Having this organization apart of our camp family has allowed our campers to share their stories in new ways. Often some of our shyest campers will share openly with the dogs instead of during group time. That is a connection we could never have without the help of Paws and Think! We look forward to many years of friendship between both organizations.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a new member of the Board and have been greatly impressed by the energy and commitment of the numerous volunteers that assist throughout Central Indiana. Paws and Think is an extraordinary organization that touches the lives of thousands every year.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Paws and Think since 2013. I started out volunteering where I could without having my own dog and they were very supportive in letting me know how to volunteer and were always good communicators with me. The leadership at the time reached out to welcome me and make me feel like my help was important and needed. Over time I became more involved and am now a board member myself. It is a great organization that does so much for its community and its volunteers.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Very unique and niche service they provide in our local community. It's easy to see from the faces and reactions of those lives the organization's therapy teams touch that the impact is lasting and meaningful.

Donor

Rating: 5

My husband and I are proud to be donors and supporters of Paws & Think. We've enjoyed getting to know the volunteers and staff through their events and yappy hours. They do great work with their therapy dogs and with their program at the Juvenile Detention Facility. We look forward to their upcoming event in October.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I just love the work this organization does. I've seen several stories on PetPals about the different work they are doing in the community. I'm so glad they are in our community!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I take Rookie to Robin Run Nursing facility every other Friday. One Friday as we passed a door, I asked my escort why we weren't going in there. She told me the patient wasn't responding to anyone either verbally or any commands. I said "that is just the person who needs to see Rookie." So we hesitantly went into B.'s room. I felt like I was a fly on the wall watching.

Rookie went right up to B. and began his own interactions. B began petting the dog and then said "big Dog". The escort asked me if the patient had just spoken to me. I said no--he spoke to Rookie.......and many tears came that day---tears of happiness. B not only spoke for the first time after his stroke but was able to follow purposeful commands and even gave Rookie some treat. It was a miracle and all the nurse were calling Rookie the miracle dog!

These are the type of miracles that happen with a Therapy Dog.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined Paws & Think in 2013. The Youth Canine program at the Marion County juvenile detention center, which helps incarcerated teens teach shelter dogs basic obedience, improving behavior for both the teens and the dogs and substantially improving adoption rates for the dogs). I have served as a volunteer at our Youth Canine programs, as a reading buddy and as part of our therapy team training process. I have served on the Board as treasurer and President.

Over the past three years, this great organization has become even better. Our mission statement is "Improving lives through the power of the human-dog connection." We do this through our Youth Canine, Reading and Therapy programs. We are a volunteer-based program, and our volunteers are the amazing, dedicated and empathetic heart of the organization. Our diverse and talented board and executive director are constantly seeking to improve and expand our programming in Indianapolis and surrounding areas.

If you are looking to improve the lives of dogs or people in the Indianapolis, check out Paws & Think!

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

My certified therapy dog, Barclay, and I have been volunteering for the last two years at Paws and Think and have loved every minute of it. The staff and volunteers (humans and dogs) have huge hearts and are truly committed to improving the lives of others by connecting people and dogs.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

Camp Healing Tree is a place where grieving children dealing with significant deaths gather for a weekend. Paws and Thinkis one of the BIG assets at camp. Linking pet therapy with childhood grief and loss provides campers an unconditional love as they face the emotional roller coaster that accompanies grief. We find Paws and Think to be phenomenal

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Paws and Think. What a great service this organization provides to Central Indiana! It is heart=warming to see what the human-dog connection can do for a child, someone who is ill or grieving. The dogs and volunteers are the heart of Paws and Think!

3 Pamela118

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a volunteer with Paws and Think and have truly enjoyed my experience. My dog and I are a certified therapy team and have had the opportunity to work with second graders through the READ program at one of our area schools as well as volunteering at The Julian Center. I am proud to be able to volunteer with such an awesome group!

2 AGFORAU

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with this organization in several aspects of their mission. It is an excellent organization with truly dedicated people. I have seen first hand the impact these programs have created through the human-animal bond. I would highly recommend Paws and Think to people looking to be philanthropic or assist as a volunteer.