P.A.W.S. has been serving the Anne Arundel County area through the human-animal bond for over 35 years. Originally funded in part by a grant from Anne Arundel County, P.A.W.S. was established as a pilot program in July of 1982 with the primary goal of improving the lives of the elderly, sick, and isolated. It was eventually transitioned to a private program under the Department of Aging and Disabilities. As a private program, P.A.W.S. is supported through the generous donations of volunteers, community members, local businesses, and grants. P.A.W.S. is a proud member of the AKC Therapy Dog certification program.
Therapy pets and their owners, as well as individuals without pets, volunteer in Anne Arundel County in settings such as assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other special sites such as the Fire and Police Department 911 Call Centers. Pets and their owners, as well as volunteers without pets, work together as a team to bring comfort and unconditional love to people who are experiencing loneliness, physical or mental illness, learning disabilities or difficulties, and other individuals whose needs are otherwise currently unmet. You will likely come to find that the experiences benefit you just as much as they do the residents with whom you visit.
There are a tremendous number of ways in which animals and owners play a role in benefiting community members' social, emotional, cognitive, and physical health through their volunteer visits. P.A.W.S. continuously strives to expand the variety of contexts in which we can take an active role providing these benefits through the human-animal bond. These include children’s reading programs, special needs educational programs, and those that support employees in high stress workplaces and military veterans. If you think you'd like to get involved, please click below for more information.