UPDATE: This class is now full!
Our next class will be held in January 2017.
This is the last class of 2016!
If you are interested in volunteering your time (along with your pet) for one of the Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy programs, our next available class begins in October! The class dates are October 29th, November 5th, 12th and 19th. (Evaluations will be December 3rd.) Please remember that prior to class, you will need to contact Carol Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as complete and submit an assessment tool. (Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.)
If you are interested in volunteering your time (along with your pet) for one of the Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy programs, our next available class begins in September! The class dates are September 17th, 24th and October 1st and 8th. (Evaluations will be October 15th.) Please remember that prior to class, you will need to contact Carol Davenport at email@example.com as well as complete and submit an assessment tool. (Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.)
“If it were not for Millie, I am not sure what would have happened that day,” recalls Beth Welch. She remembers the moment she realized her 9 month old Goldendoodle possessed an extraordinary gift.
“My mom had some changes in her medication that caused her some confusion,” says Beth. One morning after giving her the medications, Beth began working on laundry while her mother went to her bedroom. After a short time, Millie burst into the laundry room, barking loudly. She then grabbed the back of her sweatshirt and pulled her through the house into her mother’s room. “To my horror, Mom was starting to take her medications again. Fortunately, Millie had distracted Mom so she did not take them. That was the moment I knew Millie was a special dog.”
After that experience, Beth knew that Millie was destined to be a therapy dog. But where? “I had struggled with reading as a child and Millie loves children. I had heard about programs with dogs and reading and thought this would be a good fit for both of us,” says Beth of her decision to join Paws & Think with Millie as a therapy team.
With Millie, Beth is able to help children that have similar struggles with reading. “I needed a program like this as a young reader. Here, we are giving children the confidence to read out loud. Millie does not judge or laugh. She is happy to hear a child read.”
Millie can even sense when a child might need a little extra time to warm up to her. A few years ago, Millie began a reading partnership with an autistic girl named Olivia. At first “Olivia would sit on the opposite side from Millie. Instead of moving closer, Millie gave Olivia her space,” recalls Beth. But as the weeks went by, Olivia became more comfortable and the two began to move closer and closer to each other. “Soon, you did not know where Millie began and Olivia ended,” says Beth.
Although Beth and Millie have helped countless children discover the confidence to become life-long readers, Beth has found that she learns just as much from the kids themselves. “The children remind me to stop and take my time. As adults, we get so busy in our daily lives that we forget to stop and enjoy ourselves. We have a wonderful group of supportive staff members who train us and encourage us. It is a very special organization!”
UPDATE: August class is now full!
Our next class begins in September. (Click here for dates.)
If you are interested in volunteering your time (along with your pet) for one of the Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy programs, our next available class begins in August! The class dates are August 6th, 13th, 20th and 27th. (Evaluations will be September 3rd or 10th.) Please remember that prior to class, you will need to contact Carol Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as complete and submit an assessment tool. (Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.)
For Immediate Release
Indianapolis, Indiana – May 27, 2016: American Honda Motor Co., Inc. has donated $10,000 to support Paws & Think. This is the largest single corporate gift in recent history for Paws & Think.
“American Honda Motor Company’s generous gift is just one example of their leadership in the community and devotion to giving back to the conference’s host city,” said Paws & Think’s Executive Director Kelsey Burton. “Speaking on behalf of our Board of Directors, volunteers, and the over 9,000 lives we touch annually, we are profoundly grateful.”
This gift was given as part of the 2016 American Honda Supplier Conference. Each year, American Honda donates to one local non-profit serving the conference’s host city, with this year’s host city being Indianapolis. In addition to the donation, Paws & Think’s Executive Director spoke to over 700 suppliers at the Annual Business Meeting and therapy teams consisting of a therapy dog and his/her handler provided on-site stress relief during the conference.
“Thanks to American Honda’s generous gift, we will continue to impact lives through the power of the human-dog connection,” said Board President, Brett Nelson. “This donation allows us to continue to provide pet therapy and youth-canine programs throughout Central Indiana.”
Paws & Think is a volunteer-led non-profit dedicated to improving lives through the power of the human-dog connection. Paws & Think partners with schools, health care facilities, the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center, humane societies/shelters and other organizations to improve the quality of life for at-risk youth, seniors, people with disabilities/special needs and others who can benefit from interacting with the dogs in its programs. The organization was incorporated as Paws and Think, Inc. in 2001.
To learn more about Paws & Think, please visit the organization’s website at www.pawsandthink.org.
(Note to media: To learn more about the organization’s mission contact Kelsey Burton at email@example.com or 608-469-0039)
If you are interested in volunteering your time (along with your pet) for one of the Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy programs, our next available class begins in June! The class dates are June 25th, July 9th, 16th and 23rd. (Evaluations will be July 30th.) Please remember that prior to class, you will need to contact Carol Davenport at firstname.lastname@example.org as well as complete and submit an assessment tool. (Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.)
When: Sunday, June 5, 5:00-9:00pm
Where: Milano Inn
Join us at Milano Inn for an evening dedicated to Paws & Think and ARPO.
Enjoy a fun evening with other dog lovers in the outside patio and the lawn reserved for Paws & Think guests…and your dog! A portion of all the food purchases that night will be donated to Paws & Think. Additionally, we will have a Silent Auction with great items. 100% of money raised from the Silent Auction is donated to Paws & Think.
Milano Inn is located at 231 S College Ave. Indianapolis, IN 46202 (Map & Directions)
RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED!
Please call the Milano Inn at 317-264-3585 and indicate you would like to make a reservation for Paws & Think and include the number of people and dogs coming.
Check out a video to see the fun: http://milanoinn.com/events/
Bringing dogs is based on weather since the event is outside. If raining, event will continue inside but unfortunately dogs will not be able to join us.
If you are interested in volunteering your time (along with your pet) for one of the Animal Assisted Activity/Therapy programs, our next available class begins in May! The class dates are May 14th, May 21st, June 4th and June 11th. (Evaluations will be June 18th.) Please remember that prior to class, you will need to contact Carol Davenport at email@example.com as well as complete and submit an assessment tool. (Pre-registration and pre-payment is required.)
Eight years ago, Gina Marchino adopted an eight-week old mutt puppy from a shelter. The young pup, who soon became known as Greta, was listed by the shelter as a Boxer/Boston Terrier mix, but Gina’s friends were constantly asking her if Greta was a pit bull. Not knowing much about the breed, Gina decided to read up on pit bulls to find out if that was in fact what Greta was. She quickly learned of the tormented history of pit bulls and the many ways in which they are horribly treated as a result of their bad reputation as a breed.
Because of Greta, Gina felt inspired to educate the public on the truth about pit bulls. She wanted people to know that the bad reputation the breed has gained is unjust and simply inaccurate, and she has worked to help clear their name in several venues, including serving on the Board of a pit rescue organization and even opening up her home to foster pit bulls looking for their forever families.
Gina’s special bond with Greta also led her to get involved with Paws & Think, where she was excited at the opportunity for both of them to be able to volunteer. “Greta has a lot of love to share and she’s changed who I am. It didn’t seem fair to keep that all to myself.” Greta, who is a very social animal and loves the attention she receives as part of a Paws & Think therapy team, enjoys volunteering as much as Gina, who says it is rewarding to do something good for humanity with her best friend.
Together, Gina and Greta visit an adult day care for the developmentally disabled where they are able to bring joy to many just by simply stopping in to say hello. Gina recalls the impact she saw on their first visit, when many of the residents seemed to light up like the sun when she and Greta walked in: “It’s amazing that just having a dog around changes people’s moods immediately and makes them forget their troubles for a while.”
Everybody has that one special piece of clothing that makes them feel like a million bucks. For Feathers, that would be her Paws & Think bandana. “As soon as I put in on, she sits up straighter and looks like she is ready for work,” says Jean Palmer Heck, Feathers’s owner.
Feathers and Jean are a therapy team for Paws & Think. Together, they visit schools, libraries, and summer camps across the Indianapolis area to work with children and help them improve their reading skills. Throughout their 2 years volunteering with Paws & Think, Jean has witnessed how the kids have progressed and become more confident by reading to Feathers. But she has also seen a difference in Feathers.
“She is usually very shy,” notes Jean. “She was rescued from a house with 10 dogs, and I suspect she was abused by an adult,” she explains. But when Feathers enters a room full of children, everything changes. “She warms up to little kids,” Jean says, recalling how much Feathers has “blossomed” during her time as a Paws & Think dog.
Jean has used Feathers’s story to help inspire kids who are shy as well. “When we did a Families First evening with pre-schoolers in Lebanon, we met a little girl that was very uncomfortable in the library. From my interaction with her, I don’t think she even knew how to choose a book from the shelves,” recalling how she had to guide the girl every step of the way.
“I kept saying that my doggie felt shy about reading books, at first too, but she really got to like it.” After that, Jean recalls, “I could see the little girl’s confidence grow. It still brings tears to my eyes to think that a child had no exposure to a library. And it puts a smile on my face thinking my dog was a part of it”.
But while Feathers has come out of her shell through her work, it hasn’t been all work and no play. Besides the joy of working with children, what else does Feathers enjoy about being a Paws & Think dog? “Her treats, especially the drive through at McDonald’s after our sessions!”