The Brightside: PAWS for People
All across Delaware, pets are being used to spark joy. It’s all the work of a non-profit organization called PAWS for People.
Dawn Kisner, the Kent and Sussex County Coordinator for PAWS for People said, “We are just over 600 volunteer teams and we are approaching 200 facilities that we visit.”
Janice Baldwin-Hench and her dog Arlo have been volunteering with PAWS for People for almost a decade. They’ve been visiting C.E.R.T.S., an adult action center in Smyrna, for seven years now. That means Janice and Arlo know the people at C.E.R.T.S. inside and out.
Janice Baldwin-Hench said, “Some people come, some go, but many have been here for the whole time I have.”
Janice and Arlo’s knowledge of the people at C.E.R.T.S helps them meet PAWS For People’s mission, which is to provide individualized training to every person they visit. For example, Janice knows a man named Tristan at C.E.R.T.S. prefers to lean his head against Arlo rather than hold him, so she lets him do just that.
You may be wondering, how does one get certified to do this incredible work? Well, all you need is a pet with basic obedience training and the time to sit through a few training sessions.
Kisner said, “It’s more for the people about how to handle themselves on the visits.”
Amazingly, PAWS for People doesn’t just operate in Delaware. They visit places like hospitals, libraries, and classrooms in Southern Pennsylvania, northeast Maryland, and southern New Jersey as well.
Kisner said, “In February we are going to be celebrating our fifteenth year.”
PAWS for people shows no signs of slowing down. That means pets like Arlo will continue to make a difference in the years to come.
Baldwin-Hench said, “The soft fur the cute face the snuggle, even if they haven’t had dogs in their lives that’s hard to resist.”
If you want to become a volunteer with PAWS for People or you are an organization that would like to have them visit, all you have to do is head to their website www.PAWSforPeople.org