Paws On A Mission: pet therapy program
“Pets and people on a mission to help, heal, and love!”
Paws On A Mission has provided pet therapy services to Mission Hospital patients and our community since 1999. This delightful program touches many lives through the healing power of pets by:
- Spreading smiles, comfort and love to hospital patients of all ages
- Helping children and youth in schools and community agencies to reach their full potential
- Lending a helping paw to anyone experiencing loneliness, isolation or other emotional issues in a variety of settings
What is pet therapy?
Pet therapy helps to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. Along with the obvious emotional benefits of adoring pets, studies have shown that the presence of animals has a positive effect on human physiology. Pet therapy can decrease a patient’s blood pressure and heart rate. But most of all, these furry friends make all of us feel loved and at ease.
Some of the benefits of pet therapy include:
- Improvement of an individual’s overall psychosocial sense of well-being, diminishing stress and anxiety caused by illness or injury
- Reduction of the traumatic effects of hospitalization, making it a more positive experience
- The opportunity for sensory stimulation through touch
- Increased communication ability for withdrawn individuals
- Enhancement of participation in occupational and physical therapy
- Improvement of reading skills
- Increased compassion for animals, self-confidence and self-esteem
Weekly visits to patients at Mission Hospital are provided by trained pet therapy volunteer teams. All visits require physician orders and patient consents. Other service areas include schools, universities, at-risk youth facilities, hospital hospitality house, and more.
“Therapy dogs provide unconditional love and acceptance. They do not care that your hair is gone from chemotherapy, that a stroke has left you confused and speechless, or that you have a physical or mental disability. With the facilitation of their human handlers, they create a unique bond with patients and visitors that has a very real healing dimension…”
Pam Hardin, Founder of Paws On A Mission
If you have questions or would like additional information, please call our Pet Therapy Coordinators at (828) 213-9272.