IFAW is proud to support two outstanding organisations in the UK, which are helping animals to help people. IFAW has given grants to the national Pets As Therapy charity and to PAWS for Kids, which runs a unique pet fostering service in the North-West for families fleeing domestic violence. We believe that by supporting these organisations which rely on the goodwill of animal-loving volunteers, we can help build a better a world for people and animals.
Pets As Therapy
Pets As Therapy (PAT) is an award-winning charity that provides free therapy, care and companionship to children and adults in hospitals, hospices, care homes, day centres, and special needs schools by introducing furry felines and friendly dogs into their lives.
For many, life in a nursing home or palliative-care unit can be an experience that is extremely lonely. Many patients receive few or no visitors and their only chance to interact with people comes from visits with nurses or doctors. By bringing friendly, docile animals into their lives, Pets As Therapy provides these patients with a valuable source of love and companionship.
As in adult wards in hospitals, PAT dogs and cats have been found to be extremely beneficial in children's departments. They provide a welcome distraction from their illnesses or injuries, keeping them amused and calm while they wait to go for treatment and operations and generally making the children feel more at home.
In addition, the charity has cats and dogs working with special needs children and in mainstream schools and other establishments. Through referral by clinical psychologists, PAT animals are used to treat phobic children and the clinically depressed.
“There are no words to convey the joy I feel seeing people’s eyes light up when I walk into a room with Mikym [nine-month-old PAT dog]. We have some wonderful volunteers and some amazing PAT dogs and cats in the area but we need more to help us with this tremendously rewarding and valuable work.”
- Ann Shaw, PAT area co-ordinator for Leicestershire
Pets As Therapy, which in 2007 was given a £20,000 grant by IFAW, has approximately 3,000 dogs and 92 cats who provide visits throughout the UK. Every week, these animal heroes and their human counterparts provide over 100,000 people with life-enhancing care and companionship.
For more information, or to learn how to volunteer, please visit: www.petsastherapy.org
PAWS for Kids
Many women and children that suffer domestic violence have pet animals in the home. By harming or threatening to harm the pets, abusers often use them as a tool to control, threaten, intimidate and frighten. Very few local authorities provide any facilities for kennelling pets and most refuges are unable to allow pets to stay. So, when the victims of domestic violence make the decision to escape the abusive environment, they must face the prospect of either leaving behind their pets or putting them down. This inevitably causes further distress and trauma for the family - particularly the children.
"In my case, staying at home and suffering beatings on a daily basis became more acceptable to me than leaving with the children without their pets.”
- A victim of domestic violence and a PAWS beneficiary.
PAWS for Kids was started by a group of women who recognised that there is a gap between the provision of services to women and children who are escaping from violent homes and their pets. As a result, they began a fostering service for animals while helping women and children to access safe refuge accommodation. In the eight years since they began, they have fostered a total of 909 animals and helped relocate 538 women and 732 children.
By temporarily fostering pets, PAWS for Kids enables families to rebuild their lives in safety without the worry of what will become of their animals. Once the families are re-homed, they are reunited with their pets.
This one-of-a-kind charity was given a £20,000 grant by IFAW in 2007.
To learn more about this valuable service, please visit: www.pawsforkids.org.uk