By Arlene Esquivias and Leonor Delgado
The latest addition to Palo Alto Humane Society’s community programs is Therapy Paws. The first Therapy Paws session was held February 16, 2019, at a Stanford University Tree Hacks event, and we have just celebrated our first anniversary at the same event exactly a year later.
Therapy Paws is a program designed to de-stress workers in Silicon Valley companies, provide cheer to patients in hospitals and residents in assisted living, and help reduce anxiety in high school and college students at exam time. Therapy Paws visits all these places and more with a cadre of gentle and friendly dogs who help people relax and find renewed creative energy after playing and bonding with the dogs and enjoying the experience with colleagues and fellow residents or patients.
Therapy dog programs promote good social interaction and good team-building, vital to workplace success, especially in large, team-based projects. In hospital and assisted living settings, they provide opportunities for quiet interaction with gentle dogs. In addition, our Therapy Paws program introduces new audiences to PAHS’ humane treatment of animals, advocacy for animals, and the special bond people share with companion animals.
Therapy Paws is the brainchild of PAHS Operations Manager Arlene Esquivias. Her canine companion Minnie is a mainstay of the program (as well as our therapy office companion). Therapy Paws has been featured in Silicon Valley Business Journal and Mountain View Voice. Therapy Paws has visited companies such as Caffeine TV, eightfold a.i., Maxar Space Solutions, Culture Fun, and Jazz Pharmaceuticals. We have visited school settings such as Stanford University, East Palo Alto Academy, and The View Teen Center, as well as senior centers and residences such as Avenidas, Webster House, and Lytton Gardens.
Says Arlene, “Our therapy dogs are trained to give the utmost care and joy and are sure to alleviate any stress. It is great to see the impact our dogs have, and to meet the people using our therapeutic service.” To schedule a Therapy Paws session, email Arlene at the Palo Alto Humane Society or call 650-424-1901.