Frequently Asked Questions

Paws 4 Healing was founded in September 2003 by a group of experienced AAA/T teams. The founding members wanted to create an organization that would focus on sharing the unconditional love of their pets. Nearly all of the founding members are still active with Paws 4 Healing and are members of the Board of Directors.
Our volunteers visit facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted-living facilities, schools, children’s centers, and battered women’s homes to name a few. Most facilities we visit are setup on scheduled visits, while some can be visited on a flexible schedule. Some of our teams participate in reading programs for children to encourage and improve reading skills. These reading programs are held in schools, libraries and other venues. We participate in a variety of events, conferences, fairs and expos for the purpose of spreading the word about Animal-Assisted Activities and Animal-Assisted Therapy. These events give us an opportunity to meet people to tell them about pet therapy.
All Paws 4 Healing teams volunteer with their own pets. All visiting pets must pass a physical and behavioral evaluation before attending visits. All Paws 4 Healing teams are evaluated every two years and are registered with Pet Partners®.
The short answer is No. A common question for people interested in getting involved with Animal-Assisted Activities/Therapy is about taking their animal into public places such as stores, restaurants, and even airplanes. A therapy animal is not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990) and therefore you do not have access rights as does a service dog. It is a violation of the Pet Partners® Ethics Agreement to claim your therapy dog is a service animal. Paws 4 Healing members who claim their therapy dog is a service dog may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including the violation being reported to Pet Partners® and termination of membership from Paws 4 Healing.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA, 1990), a dog is considered a “service dog” if it has been “individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of a person with a disability.” Also according to the ADA, a “disability” is a “mental or physical condition which substantially limits a major life activity” such as:
  • caring for one’s self
  • performing manual tasks
  • walking
  • seeing
  • hearing
  • speaking
  • breathing
  • learning
  • working
Some disabilities may not be visible, such as:
  • deafness
  • epilepsy
  • psychiatric conditions
To be considered a service dog, the dog must be trained to perform tasks directly related to the handler’s disability. Additional information on Service Dogs and from the ADA
https://www.ada.gov/service_animals_2010.htm (Service Animals)
https://www.ada.gov/regs2010/service_animal_qa.pdf (FAQ)

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