Pawsitively Athletic: Mrs. Terry’s Happy Tails

TALES BLOG / Pawsitively Athletic: Mrs. Terry's Happy Tails

A partnership between Terry Saban and Hand in Paw brings stress relief to UA Student Athletes – all thanks to you!

Picture this: You’re a college athlete for one of the top-rated athletic programs in the country. You’re on scholarship, so in addition to staying on top of your game in the field, your grades must also remain high. Sounds stressful, right? That’s where Hand in Paw says, “bring in the dogs!”

Thanks to your incredible support, Hand in Paw has officially partnered with the University of Alabama Athletics Department to create a brand-new Tuscaloosa program called Mrs. Terry’s Happy Tails! During these visits, Tuscaloosa Therapy Teams provide some well-earned stress relief and comfort to UA athletes who work very hard to balance school and the pressure of being a college athlete. The program was named after Terry Saban, wife to UA’s former Head Football Coach, Nick Saban.

Terry Saban notes:

“I first became involved with Hand in Paw when our Nick’s Kids Foundation chose them as a worthy recipient of funding. Their trained therapy dogs provide an amazing service for people who need emotional support. Our Assistant Athletic Director of Behavioral Health and Wellness, Dr. Ginger Gilmore, realized that athletes who suffer injuries can be depressed or upset as this may affect their ability to perform. Who can resist a wagging tail? They have visited the athletic training rooms and were a big hit! The perfect diversion from a sprained knee or pulled hamstring!”

Kimberly Gibson, Clinical Sport Social Worker for UA Athletics, has seen the impact of our visits first-hand: “Our student-athletes love when Hand in Paw comes to practice and they can visit with the dogs. Being able to take a moment to share pets and snuggles provides a helpful break in the midst of busy schedules. We are thankful for Hand in Paw’s dedication and support.”

Because of your generosity, Hand in Paw Therapy Teams have already made impactful visits with the University of Alabama’s softball, baseball, volleyball, dive and swim, women’s basketball, and football teams. Thank you for making these visits possible!

This article was written by Brittany Filby. It originally appeared in the Summer 2024 print edition of Golden News.