PAWS for Kids (pet assisted wellness and support) trains emotional support dogs for children adopted from foster care. Emotional support dogs provide therapeutic, physiological, and psychological benefits.
The children Harmony serves have suffered traumatic abuse and neglect. Many have spent years in the state child welfare system in multiple placements – life experiences that can result in physical, emotional, and behavioral problems including difficulty with attaching and forming relationships.
Although a forever family may be their greatest wish, many of these children have trouble making the adjustment to family living.
PAWS for Kids is based on research that shows:
- Children who are emotionally attached to their pets learn trust and build healthy relationships that contribute to family health and stability.
- Animals provide unique safe, nonjudgmental, and nonthreatening companionship. Pets are never critical and don’t give orders; their mere presence at home can help provide a sense of security for children.
- The trust, patience, and unconditional love of a dog can help a child begin healing from the trauma of abuse and neglect, buffer the effects of stress, and promote emotional attachment.
Dogs selected for the program are professionally trained using the AKC Canine Good Citizen program. Once our dogs have successfully completed training they will be matched by Harmony Family Counselors with a child/family through a therapeutic process.