Life can be a bit ruff! This holiday season, we want to spread a bit of cheer (with cute animal pics!). We are collaborating with Pawsitive Friendships for a very special cause -- animal-assisted therapy. The purpose of this type of therapy is for children with special needs to reach their personal therapeutic goals by establishing animal-human friendships.
Founded in 2014, Pawsitive Friendships was the brain child of Tosha Tharp. After her son was diagnosed with autism at the age of 4, she was having trouble getting him to complete his at-home therapy exercises. One day he asked if their dog Zoe could join him on the swing, and she saw a complete change in his behavior. A light went on in her head. Tosha began incorporating Zoe into the other exercises, and the results were amazing. Zoe became trained as a therapy dog and Pawsitive Friendships was formed.
To spread some holiday cheer, we would like to introduce you to a few of the paw-sitively amazing animals who are helping to make an impact on countless children’s lives.
Zoe is the French bulldog who helped inspire Pawsitive Friendships. She puts her best paw forward and breaks the ice with the children. Zoe loves to play with kids and always patiently waits her turn for dog treats.
Clancy’s hobbies include long trots, horsing around, and telling tails of his adventures as a mini horse. Children love to ask him questions like, “Why are you so small?” The kids learn to properly approach him along with how to groom and feed him. For kids with autism, this helps with their self-regulation, self-awareness, social skills, and speech.
For Penelope, every day is a chance to pig out. In her spare time, she likes bakin’ (not with bacon!), and is currently learning to fly. The children love to feed Penelope, brush her hair, and of course give her kisses. She’s a bit of an attention hog. Penelope helps the children with sensory issues, motivation (for kisses!), and social skills.
This may seem a bit farfetched, but Filbert really is a catch. He's a golden Lab mix who plays flyball and is also part of a crisis-response team. Filbert keeps the kids on their toes by always playing ball, running through obstacle courses, and doing tricks. No day is a dog day with this playful pup.
Check out our social media pages each day for a new animal picture, and feel free to send us some of your own adorable animal photos. If you are feeling a bit generous this holiday season, be sure to visit the Pawsitive Friendships donation page. They are gearing up for its second annual “Rev’d Up for Autism Car & Bike Show.” All of the proceeds from the event will go to Pawsitive Friendships.