Pawsitive Pets, Inc. pet assisted therapy services works with rehabilitation facilities, assisted living facilities, retirement communities, hospitals, hospice, public libraries, schools and more. Our teams volunteer their time and love sharing the comfort, healing and connection of the human animal bond. Our animals give unconditional love to people of all ages with physical, social, emotional, academic and cognitive needs. We depend upon the commitment of our volunteers and rely on the kindness of people like you so that we can continue this important service for our communities!
Along with specially trained and certified dogs, our volunteer literacy mentors implement the international R.E.A.D. program (Reading Education Assistance Dog) to help kids read better while having fun! The intent of the R.E.A.D. program is to have children read to the therapy animals. Research with therapy animals indicates that children with low self-esteem are often more willing to interact with an animal than another person and they are inclined to forget about their limitations.
The premise of the R.E.A.D. program is that children will find reading to an animal less intimidating and a special time for them that is helpful and fun and will become a positive environment in which learning is facilitated. To get the children excited about reading and boost their enthusiasm we make sure that every child has a positive experience with R.E.A.D. In order to fulfill this goal we give the child a book to read to their Bailey (plush toy) so that they are encouraged to read at home. We like for the child to think he or she is practicing so that when they see their R.E.A.D. dog they will be more prepared! The child also receives a bookmark with their R.E.A.D. dog’s picture, a Reader of the Pack coloring page, and a sticker to wear expressing their participation with their R.E.A.D. dog each week. Once the child can read their book without great difficulty their R.E.A.D. dog will pawtograph the child’s book and receive their Participation Certificate after completing the 8 week session. Third graders are specifically targeted to help prepare them for the FCAT, however we will not turn down a child in need! Additional goals are to increase self-esteem, lower absenteeism, increase interaction in other school activities and decrease behavior challenges.
PPI was founded in 2005 with the goal of recruiting Pet Therapy teams to serve the Jacksonville community. We schedule, organize and manage teams for many facilities and schools in Duval & St. Johns Counties. The commitment of our volunteers continues to be outstanding and they are the reason for the success of our Pet Assisted Therapy program and the R.E.A.D. program! We run solely on volunteer power! In addition to personally funding all of the materials listed above that are given to the children, the volunteer also funds their Pet Assisted Therapy certification, official apparel, and weekly grooming while volunteering their time. We rely on the kindness of others to donate monies to Pawsitive Pets so that we are able to offset our volunteer’s expenses. Donations given will help fund books, bookmarks, Bailey plush toys, participation certificates, coloring pages, stickers, “pawtograph” stamps, pet therapy training & testing, handler & animal apparel for the teams!
Learn more about our Pet Assisted Therapy and R.E.A.D. programs in the FAQ section!