Our Vision & Story

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.

Our volunteers are the backbone of the organization and their dedication is unsurpassed.

 

 

 

 

Our Story

 

In 1996, Animal-Assisted Therapy existed on a very limited number of radar screens, and it certainly wasn’t being used in Birmingham, Alabama. Soon after founder, Beth Franklin, created Hand in Paw, Animal-Assisted Therapy Teams became a familiar sight in area hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and rehabilitation facilities.

From Hand in Paw’s earliest days as a 501(c)(3) organization, Franklin and the Board of Directors shared a vision of excellence. Great attention was paid to training and evaluation of all volunteers and their animal partners. This attention to quality continues to be a mainstay of Hand in Paw.

One woman struck out on a mission to design and build an organization that would, through the use of volunteer Animal-Assisted Therapy Teams, improve the health and well-being of people of all ages. Today, more than 150 professionally-trained volunteers carry out that mission. Hand in Paw has been lauded as an exemplary organization in terms of financial transparency, accountability, stewardship, and perhaps most importantly, an unselfish service to the community.

 

 

 

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