For worldwide media attention we have received, Google: Super Dog Max
Max, Ruby and I work seven days a week providing animal therapy by visiting nursing homes, elementary schools (helping children learn to read), hospice, VA hospitals, and assisted living facilities. I also work with other volunteers by providing training to them and their dogs to amplify what Healing Paws Animal Therapy is accomplishing. My goal is that two years from now there will be two volunteer animal therapy teams in all 128 schools in Pinellas County. That is a total of 256 trained, certified and insured volunteer animal therapy teams. These volunteers will also visit nursing homes, VA Hospitals, Hospice, elementary schools, disaster areas and anywhere there is a need for a volunteer team to help people with whatever they may be going through, to give them a ray of hope.
Healing Paws Animal Therapy does not charge a fee for anything. All training is FREE and visits to all facilities are also FREE. We visit elementary schools from the time the schools open in the morning until they close in the afternoons. We do this five days a week and all the work we do is done without charging anyone anything, all work is 100% FREE. We have had a positive impact on a great number of people every week through our visits.
While Healing Paws Animal Therapy provides its services for free, there are significant costs for such things as mandatory insurance, health checkups for Max and Ruby, licenses, certifications, training materials, brochures, business cards, uniforms, medications, food, gas, travel expenses and so on. You may well be stunned at what it costs just to have dogs insured. The facilities we visit require that Healing Paws Animal Therapy carry more than $4 million in General Liability, Professional Liability per dog and Volunteer accident insurance. And, this insurance goes up every year.
For over 10 years Carl Gordon has paid for all the training, certification, insurance and licensing required of Max, Ruby & Hope and all other volunteers to become certified therapy dogs, plus all of the needed materials, equipment, business supplies, insurance, transportation, medical exams, office space and medication --- well over $20,000 per year. I created my non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization; Healing Paws Animal Therapy. I also created my GoFundMe acount only a few weeks ago in hopes of raising funds.
Healing Paws Animal Therapy really does change people’s lives. Here’s how:
Imagine yourself as a patient in a hospital room, nursing home, hospice, cancer ward or a veteran in the VA Hospital. Maybe you will never be able to walk again. Or, you might be facing something even worse: you know that you are dying and you are ALL ALONE. No one is visiting you. No one is trying to cheer you up. It feels like no one knows about you, your life and your accomplishments.
Just think about that: think about the hospital bed, the nurses, the medications, the smells, the sounds. This is now your world. You are in that situation possibly on a daily, weekly, yearly basis. It is heart-wrenching to think about. That is the life of a lot of patients we visit. Most have a serious spinal injury that leaves them unable to walk, some patients can no longer use their arms and in the worst cases can’t move anything at all. One patient we visit can only blink but you can see the joy in her eyes when the dogs walk in the room.
Now, imagine a person walking into your room with 3 of the most unique and friendly dogs that you have ever seen in your life. They look like huge teddy bears. Then they jump up on your bedside to get next to you. They lick your face, wag their tails, and they are happy to see you. They perform a few tricks and then you get to see them frolicking around your room, playing like puppies. You see them having so much fun that for the first time in a very long time you forget about what you are going through. A smile comes across your face. You laugh for the first time in what seems like forever. You feel happy, relieved, elated. Your photo is taken and given to you to display by your bedside. You also can go on the Internet and follow the very dogs that just came into your room every day. You can see videos and pictures of these wonderful animals and their daily adventures as they visit other patients like yourself. You see the happiness they bring others and for the first time in a long time you feel happy yourself.
Here’s the best part — you know that these animals and their trainer are going to be coming back to visit you on a regular basis. You now have something back in your life that gives you hope. You have something to look forward to on a weekly basis, something that makes you happy.
Everyone we visit sees a ray of sunshine and hope. Healing Paws Animal Therapy sincerely cares about ALL the people we visit. The goal of Healing Paws Animal Therapy is to have trained volunteers and therapy dogs in hospitals, nursing homes, hospice, the VA hospitals and schools so everyone can have access to these wonderful therapy dogs.
I first realized the need for animal therapy when I went into the VA Hospital to visit a friend around 9 years ago and found there was no one around. I saw many veterans who were patients in the hospital, but I did not see any visitors, relatives or even very many staff. The were rooms full of our veteran American heroes...... alone.
It was on a Sunday and I thought it would be crowded but it was a lonely and depressing environment. (But so are the nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and hospice that I visit weekly. It is very depressing to see.)
Patients in their wheelchairs were sitting outside their doors for hours, waiting for their medications or just sitting there to feel like they are still alive. These wonderful people were there for us. They served our country and raised us but there is no one there to give them the love and support they need now. This was so depressing to see and I realized that I needed to do something about it.
I created Healing Paws Animal Therapy in order to train and certify other volunteers to go out and help people in need. I also realized that the help needed is not only on the weekends or at nursing homes, VA hospitals or hospice but also in the elementary schools helping special needs children to read. It is important to me that Healing Paws Animal Therapy do all this without cost so more people could become volunteers. These volunteers may be able to afford to get their animals & themselves trained because they are on a fixed budget, retired or just don’t have the funds, but now they can through my organization because we do all the training and certification for free!
My days start at 5:00 a.m. It takes a full two hours to groom both dogs: they get their teeth brushed, claws clipped, pads sanded smoothly (this prevents them from tearing an elderly person’s skin), ears cleaned and then a deep brushing & dry shampoo, so they are clean for everyone they meet.
We visit our first school every weekday starting at 8:00 a.m. and finish by 3 p.m., working with 128 special needs children at 15 elementary schools. Max, Ruby and I help these children learn to read. It is not surprising that a child who is struggling to read wants to avoid reading aloud before their classmates, but that same child is eager to read aloud to a dog. A dog does not judge. A dog does not pressure or ridicule. A dog just listens. And this creates overwhelming desire by the child to please the dog. Teachers and parents have seen a huge difference in the children that read to Max and Ruby. Their grades & behavior improve and the children are eventually is able to read aloud in the classroom, amongst their piers with no fear or concerns. The parents, teachers and most importantly the children are pleased with the results.
After school, we visit one or two nursing homes or assisted living facilities on our way home. We usually finish our day by 6:00 p.m. After we get home I create and post custom videos of the students we work with on my Facebook and Instagram pages:
Take a moment to check out my pages; they will add a few smiles/laughs to your day!
On Saturdays, we visit the VA Hospital to cheer up and offer therapy for America's heroes, our veterans. Sundays are spent training other volunteers and their animals to prepare their dogs and owners for certification as animal volunteer therapy team so they too may volunteer at area facilities to cheer up patients.
I have been featured on television, newspapers, radio and magazines all over the world with the work we do. These news stations do not pay us. They do it because it is public interest and we do it to get the word out about Healing Paws Animal Therapy.
Google: Super Dog Max
Healing Paws Animal Therapy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To verify our status, please go to:
www.GuideStar.org or http://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ByName
All donations are tax deductible and any help you provide is greatly appreciated.
If you can't help Healing Paws Animal Therapy financially you can still be a big help by forwarding the GoFundMe page link (www.GoFundMe.com/HealingPawsAnimalTherapy) to others who may be able to help. Just copy and past the above GoFundMe and post on your social media, send to friends, companies or anyone you think may be able to help, Thank you!
Better yet if you can’t afford to donate your time volunteering at so many facilities is greatly needed and would be so uplifting to everyone you meet.
To see our worldwide media coverage,
Google: Super Dog Max
YouTube Channel: Super Dog Max
My website is: www.HealingPawsAnimalTherapy.com
Links below to national TV stations and media outlets that have interviewed me regarding the animal therapy work I do, if you cannot click on the link, copy & paste in your browser:
WFTN Channel 8:
CBS Channel 10 - Great Day Tampa Bay
WGN TV Chicago:
NBC - Telemundo / Un Nuevo Dia:
CBS - Trending Right Now:
ABC - The Daytime Show:
CBS - Good Morning America:
Fox 13 MLB TV:
United Kingdom Major TV network interview:
Fox 13 News:
Pinellas County Schools:
- Phyllis Pharis Baete
- Gretel Matos
- Nancy Pecora
- Emily Kraemer
- Gail Nickerson
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