John, Max, Grace, and I are proud to be certified dog therapy volunteers through Pawsibilities Unleashed, a non-profit organization based in Frankfort, Kentucky, and want to take this opportunity to properly introduce them to you. Their mission, direct from their website, is:
“To offer quality and positive training methods for service and therapy dogs. To help those with Service Dogs reach a higher level of independence. To help those that want or have Therapy Dogs share their animal with others. To help bring joy and comfort to those who need it, through the use of canines, and good manners to those that would like to have a wonderful family pet.”
Though they do all of the things they talk about in their mission statement, it seems to barely scratch the surface of what they have been able to offer and accomplish since they were established in 1993. At the most basic level, they offer positive, humane training for the household pet. If your family is looking to add a new canine member, Pawsibilities can help you find a rescue dog that fits your needs and lifestyle and get started on the right foot. If you are just looking to improve your dog’s behavior at home and your general relationship with your dog, they can help you do that through weekly or bi-weekly classes at their training facility. But the training doesn’t have to stop there.
If you and your dog are suitable candidates, you can train to become a volunteer pet therapy team like John and I are with Max and Grace. This certifies and insures you to visit hospitals, nursing homes, and many other types of facilities to share your dog and the joy they bring with others. You can also work with their reading tutoring program, Book and Best Friends, and all kinds of other educational programs. If you have a great dog, you should share them! Pawsibilities is there to support and help you to make that possible.
Have you mastered pet therapy and are still hungry for more? You and your dog can work towards providing Animal Assisted Therapy or AAT, a branch of physical therapy that has been incredibly beneficial for those with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, or in physical rehabilitation treatments helping the injured regain motor skills and balance. Pawsibilities is currently working with Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Kentucky to build a degree program in Animal Assisted Therapy as well.
If you or a member of your family have ever been interested in a service dog and feel that having a canine partner could improve your quality of life by helping you regain confidence and independence, Pawsibilities can help you with that too. They have provided service dogs for the blind, autistic, diabetic, and many others at a fraction of the cost of most organizations. A fully trained and certified service dog can cost upwards of $50,000, but through Pawsibilities, a person in need can go through the training with a dog – often a rescue – and have their own service dog for as little as $2,000. See their Service Dog page for more information.
Pawsibilites will also help you train your dog to be a First Responder Pet Therapy K9. This is something that John and I are specifically interested in after we complete our coast to coast walk. The opportunities and “pawsibilities” with this organization are truly endless. Do you have an idea for working with dogs to improve a person’s quality of life that isn’t talked about here or on their website? If you can dream it, they will help you find a way to make it possible – even something crazy like walking across America to benefit dog therapy and rescue.
For more information about Pawsibilites Unleashed, therapy dogs, service dogs, animal assisted therapy, and their available programs, visit their website at www.PawsibilitiesUnleashed.org, call, or send them an email. They would love to hear from you!