Clarice Ritchie, Executive Director, and Kate Rosenthal, Marketing and Events Manager, discussed PAWS for People, a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of people in our community by lovingly providing individualized, therapeutic visits with specially trained volunteers and their certified gentle, affectionate dogs, cats and bunnies. They visit clients in hospitals and skilled care facilities, chemical dependency centers and elementary schools, as well as libraries and home-visits, each year tens of thousands of people are experiencing the benefits of one-on-one therapeutic visits. They discussed how children will confide in a dog in a medical setting, revealing info to their caregivers. Students struggling will gladly read aloud to them while older clients get to enjoy the companionship of a favored pet. PAWS pet therapy volunteer teams consist of one volunteer and one pet who are trained – both volunteer and animal – and then commit to making therapeutic visits at least twice a month at a partnering site. The fees paid by clients or institutions who host visits covered the training and the insurance so volunteers don’t have to worry about taking their pets to homes, hospitals or libraries. They note they currently have over 450 volunteer teams visiting 160+ locations in DE, MD, PA & NJ. They are looking for more volunteers and pets – especially cats – to allow them to fulfil their many requests, especially in the Philadelphia area.
The annual winter Conference & Annual Meeting is a day filled with informative workshops, a keynote address, and food is open to all pet lovers and pet enthusiasts who are interested in learning more about the world of pet therapy or animal health & wellness. The next conference will be held in February or March or 2024.
Finally we discussed their upcoming fundraiser, the Wag & Walkathon, is a month-long cumulative marathon (26.2 miles) kicking off Thursday, September 21st and culminate on Saturday, October 21st with a special Cross the Finish Line event at Glasgow Park in Newark, DE with family-friendly fun, entertainment, food, doggie contests, and challenges. Registration is now open, you can create a team or participate as an individual and they have bumper stickers that show you’ve completed a marathon! People of all ages can get pledges and participate with their family, friends, and neighbors.
To register or to learn more about volunteer visit pawsforpeople.org