February: An All-Heart Month!


TALES BLOG /February: An All-Heart Month

Written by Margaret Stinnett, Executive Director
Welcome February, you short, weather-harsh but all-heart month!

February is the month of love. I hope you had the opportunity to see the “Wear Red Day” photographs that Hand in Paw posted on social media in collaboration with the American Heart Association of Alabama. These adorable photographs of HIP therapy animals (and my little rescue Audrey) wearing red attire are a joyful way to share something that is a serious topic – women’s heart health.



At the risk of oversharing, I have high blood pressure. I was diagnosed in my early forties. Young, right? I do not fit the criteria. It is genetic. After my diagnosis, I was prescribed the appropriate medication to manage this issue.

Imagine going through life with the confidence of a healthy person, immune from a health crisis. Then one day, chest pain, shortness of breath, a strange headache and other vague issues came on suddenly. You might blow it off and determine you did not have anything “serious” - just a bit of indigestion or taking the stairs too fast? But actually, you had to face a cardiac, life-altering situation – and learn that your HEART was not behaving properly. Even you in your comfortable, normal, routine-daily existence could face a serious heart-health issue.

This is the message of red you see heart healthy advocates wearing in February. Wearing red is a visual message to say  – “listen to your body and take care of yourself.”  



In addition to raising awareness of heart health, February has long been known as the month of love. Thank you, Saint Valentine. Hey! Dog people – celebrate!


  • You are the fur-ry best dog mom ever.
  • I WOOF you to the moon and back, valentine!
  • If they lined up all the chew toys in the world, I would CHEWS you, valentine.
  • I woofy, woofy love you, valentine.
  • I puppin' love you, Paw-lentine!


So, I Googled this. But isn’t it true? We have our people and partners, our children, our pets, and our friends we just love in this life. And I believe when we reflect on the wonderful gifts in our lives – it is not “who loved you” it is “who you loved.”

Love a pet! Love a person! Love your Life! Love Hand in Paw!  



At Hand in Paw – we love our Volunteers. They serve our community with glad hearts!

At Hand in Paw – we love our Supporters. They understand the value of our work.

At Hand in Paw – we love our pets and share their gifts.

At Hand in Paw – we love our Founder, Beth Franklin, who brought the gift of Animal-Assisted Therapy to Birmingham and did it with her whole heart!

At Hand in Paw – we love our Program Partners! Thank you for organizing and coordinating our schedules to match volunteer Therapy Teams with the people that need us most in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and other human service organizations.


I hope you will join me and celebrate this wonderful month of love by listening to your heart, wearing red, showing love to those you hold dear, and supporting Hand in Paw – we show up for the people in your neighborhood.