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How the local community can help Hand in Paw expand their unique services
Hand in Paw Therapy Team, Stephanie Stoltzner and her dog Olive, have been touching the lives of people in need through Animal-Assisted Therapy since 2016. But one visit at Children’s of Alabama truly shows firsthand the incredible emotional lift that comes from the human-animal bond.
It was a Wednesday night, and Stephanie and Olive were on their monthly Petscription visit in the lobby of Children’s of Alabama. She noticed a woman standing back watching her and Olive, holding something in her hands. It didn’t appear that any of the children visiting with Olive belonged to her. Once there was a gap in the visits, she walked over to Stephanie and said, “is this Olive?”. Once Stephanie responded “yes”, she turned the object around. It was a picture her daughter painted of Olive after having an hour long visit with her the month before.
The mother told Stephanie that her daughter wasn’t feeling well enough for a visit at that time, but she wanted to make sure Olive saw her painting. The mother explained that her daughter painted the picture so she could see Olive anytime she wanted and that it was hung on her hospital room wall.
Stephanie was speechless. “Olive did that. She gave that child a moment to forget about all the bad about the sickness. Olive meant something that special to her,” Stephanie explains.
Hand in Paw is providing powerful Animal-Assisted Therapy visits like this one in North Central Alabama and Tuscaloosa every day; but there are over 100 facilities on Hand in Paw’s waiting list, and they need more Therapy Teams like Stephanie and Olive to reach them.
To learn more about becoming a Therapy Team, please visit www.HandInPaw.org/Volunteer or come to their next Community Open House on July 24th from 12-1pm at the Lasker Training Center in Hand in Paw.
Hand in Paw services are free thanks to donors who make a difference in the lives of countless clients. To donate, please visit www.HandInPaw.org/Donate
ABOUT HAND IN PAW
With a mission to improve human health and well-being, Hand in Paw is Alabama’s premier Animal-Assisted Therapy provider and a national leader in this growing field. Hand in Paw’s professionally-trained volunteer handler and animal Therapy Teams help improve people’s day to day lives in more than 100 medical centers, schools, and human service organizations throughout North Central Alabama and Tuscaloosa. Our volunteer teams make thousands of beneficial visits through community events and participating facilities each year. At no time has Hand in Paw charged for its services. For more information, visit www.handinpaw.org.
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