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The Story so far...
Paws Pet Therapy was founded in 2012 in response to an obvious need for a professional, safe and enjoyable pet assisted therapy service in the Southern Highlands of NSW. With a professional background as a Registered Nurse and a lifelong passion for animals, Sharon Stewart created Paws Pet Therapy and registered it as a charity. The PAWS service had humble beginnings - starting with 3 volunteer teams (one of them Sharon's mum), originally visiting aged care facilities, disability groups and the chemotherapy unit at Bowral. PAWS' reputation for safety and professionalism quickly grew, as did its geographical footprint.
PAWS now operates from our headquarters at Orangeville in NSW but supports teams all around Australia. Our great non-profit is supported by Christina Bakker, previously an experienced PAWS volunteer with an extensive background in the health sector, including counselling and midwifery. Our 2 dog trainers/assessors, Jody Asquith and Ally Piper, round off a great team. Having trained over 400 dedicated volunteer teams, visiting people all around NSW and now in interstate locations, PAWS is growing in strength, numbers and geographic location. Regardless of our size or reach, PAWS will always stay true to our primary focus...bringing comfort, love and companionship to people in need no matter who they are or where they live.
PAWS volunteers are a great bunch of people who come from all walks of life bringing a wealth of knowledge, experience and compassion to their important work. Equally diverse, their canine companions come in a range of different breeds, shapes and sizes, and are all loving, clever and intuitive. We strongly encourage volunteers with rescue dogs to join our team. In most cases, we find these wonderful souls, who have often had a hard and unloving start to life, have so much love to give, once embraced by a loving family and given a purpose.
From our earliest visits we have believed strongly in the magic that is created when you bring people and dogs together. The love of a dog is unconditional. It is given freely, without prejudice or favour. A dog instantly lights up a room, turning frowns into smiles and darkness into light. They are at once our best friend and truest companion. We are immensely proud of what we have achieved so far...but this is just the start of our story. We welcome you to follow the journey - the laughs as well as the tears along the way.
"I was feeling everything was black and empty and you have just brought the sunshine in"
Palliative client - her husband thanked us for the joy we brought to the last days of her life.
“I love Coco. She is my favourite dog in the whole world.” Mum… “what about our dog?” “Oh yeah, I love Coco, she is my second favourite dog in the whole world”
Paws 'n' Tales reading program
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