What a treat we had last week, our guest speakers were from PAWS n Tails. Sharon a volunteer from PAWS n Tails brought her trained dog called Hudson who was the star of our Club meeting. As Sharon described the work PAWS n Tails in our community, Hudson wandered around and introduced himself to each member present.
Sharon who lives around the Picton area visits Taara Gardens, Macarthur Disability Services, Disability Services Australia, Camden Hospital, Campbelltown Hospital, and she does the initial visits to most new sites.
Sharon said ‘Paws volunteers come from a variety of backgrounds, and generously give up their time to spread the magic of pet-assisted therapy to people in a range of settings, with needs ranging from loneliness to cancer’.
Paws volunteers are trained to visit people who have:
- a disability,
- are frail-aged,
- have challenging behaviours,
- are undergoing chemotherapy treatment,
- are taking part in rehabilitation programs,
- are lonely,
- are on the Autism Spectrum,
- going through palliative care.
All PAWS volunteers complete the comprehensive PAWS training course and are supported to increase their knowledge and skills, and to provide a professional and safe pet therapy service to their clients. PAWS volunteers understand and promote the benefits of pet-therapy.
Sharon told us that PAWS dogs are all different sizes, shapes, breeds and personalities, but all are sociable, loving, healthy and obedient. Whatever your needs, Paws Pet Therapy will have a team just right for you. PAWS currently visits sites in the Southern Highlands, Illawarra, Macarthur, Wollondilly and Shoalhaven areas, as well as Sydney city, and are always looking to begin in new areas.
Sharon said ‘we are continually recruiting volunteers, and can offer opportunities for people to work beside their best friend, in a specialty field of their choice’. This was demonstrated with Ann Miller enlisting to become a volunteer with her and Norm’s dog.
Volunteers are constantly amazed at the depth of interaction and the joy that their visits bring to people who are in need. Sharon described that PAWS offer a professional service, with trained teams, policies and procedures, and insurances, so do charge small fees for visits.
Lynda, a PAWS volunteer told us she was a retired teacher who has worked for many years teaching reading to children with learning difficulties. She is also a long-time dog owner and is aware of the comfort that a friendly dog can provide to children who are stressed or struggling with their reading. Linda and her dog both enjoy listening to her Paws’n’Tales kids read, and her friendly smile makes them feel comfortable and relaxed, so they can develop their reading skills and feel better about themselves.