Paws & Effect is the proud charity partner of eight therapy dogs nominated as finalists in the 2016 Hero Dog Awards, conducted annually by the American Humane Association. Therapy dogs are socialized and trained to provide assistance to more than just one person. As a charity partner, the Des Moines, Iowa-based non-profit will be awarded up to $2,500 if any of these dogs achieves the highest number of on-line votes in their category.
Voting ends 12 noon Pacific Time April 27, 2016. You can see the entire ballot and vote here. You can vote in each category once per day. In last year's contest, more than 1.5 million on-line votes were cast by the public.
Paws & Effect also has a connection to Hunter, a 2016 Hero Dog nominee in the service dog category. Service dogs are trained to perform tasks for specific individuals, in order to mitigate diagnosed physical and/or mental conditions.
Established in 2006, Paws & Effect is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that raises, trains, and places service dogs with military veterans and children diagnosed with medical needs. Paws & Effect also hosts Pet Partner training courses and evaluations, supporting therapy teams throughout the state of Iowa. Paws & Effect is widely known for its dog agility programs, where children may complete their physical, occupational, and speech therapy while taking a therapy dog through an agility course.
Paws & Effect is charity partner for the following therapy dog nominees, presented here in ballot order:
- Sam, a 7-year-old Labrador mix from Saluda, N.C., who visits veterans, retirement facilities, hospitals, hospice centers, schools and libraries four to five times a week
- Tulip, a rescued American Pit Bull Terrier from Raleigh, N.C., whose favorite place is a special-needs school, where many children have autism, Down syndrome, or have had traumatic experiences. Tulip visits for their reading program and to help give them comfort and support.
- Ellie Belly Sugar Jelly, a certified therapy animal from Belleville, Mich., who visits hospitals, senior centers and libraries.
- Jeanie, a three-legged rescue from Lake Charles, La., who visits hospitals, nursing homes, reading programs, and veteran’s homes, where "she is a hit with fellow amputees." She also comforts children at an advocacy center, as they are questioned by investigators in abuse cases.
- Skooter, a Labrador/shepherd mix from Livermore, Calif., who got his accidental start as a therapy dog when providing assistance to an ailing marathon runner. He now has more than 100 volunteer hours working with veterans, senior citizens, and children.
- Karma, a rescued Great Pyrenees who was originally trained in prison to guard an equine therapy herd. Instead, the dog from Webster Groves, Mo. demonstrated an ability to connect with troubled adolescents.
- Jake, a 12-year-old dog from Yukon, Okla. who works to provide comfort to those who are physically or emotionally distressed, including people in hospital or mass trauma sites. "As a senior dog, Jake’s calm and patient demeanor with patients is so amazing to watch," his nomination reads.
- Sky, a fluffy Husky rescue from Hollywood, Md., who works with veterans and hospice patients, who has brought voice and howls of laughter to those he has visited.
Reminder: Voting ends 12 noon Pacific Time April 27, 2016. You can see the entire ballot and vote here. You can vote in each category once per day.